BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
December 17, 2003
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Don Hampton and Anna Morrison present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Morrison introduced Pam Fleck, her walk a mile partner. Sorenson stated that item 10. b. is a discussion item only.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Norm Maxwell, 79550 Fire Road, spoke about compliance with the Cottage Grove Speedway. He thought the speedway should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Mona Lindstromberg, 87140 Territorial Road, Veneta, stated she attended all the Land Management Task Force meetings. She noted a common thread at the meeting was on compliance and enforcement of Lane County Code. She commented the Leaches had disregarded Lane Countyís code regarding the speedway. She added the codes need to be enforced to the fullest extent of the law.
Robert Emmons, 40093 Little Fall Creek Road, said he had concerns about the Countyís failure to collect fees and fines regarding compliance issues. He said his concern is the Cottage Grove Speedway. He noted that Jeff Towery, Land Management, had made the decision to collect a lower fee than might have been levied.
Martin Kilmer, 1245 E. Adams, Cottage Grove, brought up the issue of returning fees and lowering fines on the Cottage Grove Speedway. He commented if the County has money they should be refunding all the fees that were collected from the Okrays. He said it doesnít make sense that they are giving money back to people who are not upholding the laws.
Chris Okray, 323 E. 22nd, Cottage Grove, commented that there is a problem with the County having a shortfall of funds and there needs to be more staff. She said Lane County should enforce land use laws to hire more people. She wanted the County to recoup the fines and the problem remanded.
Lauri Segel, 120 W. Broadway, spoke on enforcement. She stated she was on the task force and it was commonly agreed that enforcement needed to be strengthened, prioritizing health and safety issues affecting residents and making recommendations about being self-supporting. She urged the Board to take these comments seriously.
Rob Handy, 455Ĺ River Road, Eugene, said he is the Chair of the River Road Community Organization and is working with city staff to come up with a request for proposal for a transition manager for the issue involving the city. He noted there was a report from the River Road-Santa Clara Urban Services Committee. He said they had recommendations in the city to try to implement some of the recommendations through an allocation from their sewer fund money. He said the idea came up of calling the person the transition manager. He read the recommendation of the report and the recommendations involved slowing down the fast track annexation process. He wanted a fiscal analysis so they could find what is real since there are so many overlapping services and districts. He then wanted to have a community discussion about city residents and county residents within the urban growth boundary.
Dwyer suggested calling it a Transition Coordinator.
Handy said the word transition is what the problem is for some people.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Sorenson commented the commissioners went to a Safeway Store to donate turkeys.
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor praised Sid Davis for his Christmas Tree decoration.
b. ORDER 03-12-17-1/In the Matter of Transferring $299,240 in Appropriations Within the General Fund From Various Departments to General Expense to Partially Achieve the $500,000 Benefit Savings Goal Set by the Board When the FY 03-04 Budget was Adopted.
Dave Garnick, Senior Budget Analyst, recalled the $4.5 million deficit from last year, and using a portion of some revenues and savings in the PERS reform. He added they adopted the budget with a $500,000 hole, knowing they were going to achieve some savings in the health benefits. He noted the year to date they achieved $300,000. He wanted to get these adjustments done now so the budgets that get carried forward are an accurate reflection of the current costs. He said the recommendation is to transfer this amount with the understanding that the Police Officer Association and AFSCME Nurses have not yet settled their contract. He noted there is a gap of $200,000.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-12-17-1.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Morrison complimented everyone for the work they did to recover as much money as they possibly could. She stated as they move forward she hoped they would understand that 75% to 80% of the budget is around personnel costs, that those expenses will continue to rise unless they choose to do something about it.
Sorenson commented the difficulty is achieving a balanced budget when the Board decided not to ask the voters for any more money. He said it would mean serious reductions in the general fund.
6. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 03-12-17-2/In the Matter of Responding to the LUBA Remand of County Decisions Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metro Area General Plan, TransPlan, West Eugene Wetlands Plan and Lane County Rural Comprehensive Plan for the West Eugene Parkway in Ordinance Nos. PA 1174 and 1175.
Tom Stinchfield, Public Works, explained this item addresses a remanded appeal of the two ordinances that went to LUBA last year. He said the County and other local agencies adopted plan amendments related to the West Eugene Parkway and those were included on July 31, 2002. He added those approvals were appealed to LUBA and on March 24, 2003, they remanded a subset of the issues that were appealed back to the local governments for explanation. He stated it went to the Court of Appeals and the Court of Appeals affirmed the LUBA decision without comments. He noted it is back to the local agencies for a response. He said the City of Eugene adopted a response to the remand on November 12. He added the City of Springfield is scheduled to consider this in February, with LTD scheduling the matter this evening. He indicated that the record is closed on this matter and the attorneys involved have written the response document based on the existing record. He noted the changes attached to Exhibit A are related to one of the issues regarding integrated land use and transportation planning.
Vorhes explained that LUBA remanded four issues and those are the issues that they drafted responses for. He thought there were adequate explanations in the findings already; it was a matter of just pointing them out. He said there was a need to discuss the issue of whether this project would affect accessibility. He said there was a concern about addressing what was perceived to be policies that might be in TransPlan that would address the transportation planning rule that related to integrated land use and transportation plans. He added there is not a need to resolve whether or not the rule requires that at the time of the decision there was no policy and there are still no policies addressing a particular provision of that rule because it was not required of the county or the cities at the time of TransPlanís adoption. He said the decision for adopting these findings doesnít resolve that issue. He said they agreed to disagree on that issue. He said the issue raised at LUBA was were there policies in the TransPlan that needed to be addressed. He noted that the answer was none. He noted another issue had to do with the West Eugene Wetlands Plan and whether the modified project affected that. He said the findings were concluded in the materials in the record that those areas outside of the West Eugene Wetlands Plan were not affected by those changes. He explained the changes that he distributed today to Exhibit A do not raise the same concerns as the findings that were adopted or the response that was adopted by the City of Eugene.
Vorhes indicated that, in talking with the City Attorney from the City of Eugene, they do not intend to make any further revisions. He said since Lane County was not dealing with actual amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, there is room for the actions of each individual jurisdiction to be slightly different without creating difficulties. He noted the substantive findings that the City of Eugene made are the same ones: there are no policies in TransPlan that need to be addressed in the context of this decision. He commented there was a low risk of appeal or concern raised by the parties to the appeal to LUBA
Vorhes explained that the difference between the version the Board has in front of them and the version the City of Eugene adopted is that the version the Board has equivocates the issues of whether the Transportation Planning Rule requires an integrated land use and transportation plan so that issue is not necessarily resolved by the findings. He added the changes in the supplemental material he gave to the Board were on page 6 and 7 of the supplemental materials. (Copy in file). He said it added language that stated: "There appear to be two circumstantial categories . . . although it is not necessary to resolve this issue to address the remand (that was new language) it would appear that neither of the circumstances exist. He noted there were areas on page 6 that articulates that there is another interpretation that would require TransPlan to include the policies addressing the Integrated Lane Use and Transportation Plan requirements. He added if that was the case in this situation where the remand comes from LUBA and they have to look at the TransPlan, local governments were not required to make findings on non-existent TransPlan policies. He noted there were no policies yet in the TransPlan that address the Transportation Planning Rule for Integration 66002.035 (c) (e).
Vorhesí recommendation is that the Board not open the record but consider the materials he provided in the Board Order and exhibit. He noted there is a letter attached of which he recommended that the Board not consider, as it would open the window to consider new information.
Sorenson asked why the City of Eugene and LTD wouldnít adopt Lane Countyís similar language.
Vorhes responded they had not historically adopted identicial findings except as they were adopted into both plans. He stated they are not changing the Metro Plan and that is where the requirement is driven about adopting identical changes to the plan. He said the findings have differed in other cases where they had adopted identical language to the Metro Plan, but the findings have not been identical.
Sorenson suggested turning this issue over to the agenda team to have it scheduled in the same time frame as the Springfield decision.
Green didnít support to take this to the agenda team. He commented it addresses their concerns to LUBA, which is what the Boardís charge is. He thought to send it to the Agenda Team for a timing issue didnít meet the test for the delay. He added there is no guaranty that the LTD would adopt a similar resolution.
MOTION: to move ORDER 03-12-17-2.
Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-1 (Sorenson dissenting).
b. ORAL REPORT BACK/Parks Grant-Driven Projects. (NBA & PM 12/17/02)
Todd Winter, Parks, explained this dealt with the grant management services agreement for the Howard Buford Recreation Area. He said the Board approved it on December 17, 2002 and the contract was executed on February 13, 2003. He added the contract was awarded to the Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah. He said the grant management services agreement allows them to procure grants for habitat enhancements of fish and wildlife in areas for the Howard Buford Recreation Area. He said the Board also requested a report back on annual basis stating what grants were awarded and what type of projects were produced.
Winter passed out an overview (copy in file). He said the grant funds secured in 2003 totaled $372,210. He said there was $287,000 from OWEB for flood plain restoration; NOWA Fisheries, $25,000 for the same project, National Fish and Wildlife $50,000 for a native plant nursery and the American Bird Conservancy gave them $10,000 for oak habitat enhancement.
Winter commented that have having funding in place to achieve the Parks Department goals will take cooperation of partnerships, and unions. He said he would come back to the Board the end of January with the signed memorandum of understanding.
c. REPORT BACK/90-Day Process to Eliminate Planning Application Backlog.
Jeff Towery, recalled about four months ago there was a discussion at the Board about the growing backlog of planning applications that their planning program had been processing. He said there were concerns about how they were going to move to get away from the backlog. With regard to the workload, it had been steady with a spike in June for noticed applications and that was related to the rate increase they had last year. He added year to year the workload had been similar. He explained they werenít able to fully implement the staffing work in August because they gave promotional opportunities for people and while their positions werenít refilled, they were splitting duties. He said they see a downward trend in processing. He said they are close to 30 days processing time for a noticed decision and under 20 days for administrative decision.
Morrison noted an e-mail came in from a Roy Carver, III. She wanted follow-up. She said Carver stated he applied for a permit on September 2 and he had not yet received correspondence of any kind from the County. She added that she wanted to see another quarterly report in March to make sure that Land Management was moving forward.
Green was concerned about their department making a revenue target with their staffing and capacity to serve the public.
Towery responded they would be ahead of revenue projections as the summer permit work was higher this year than last year with activity. He added they didnít budget an increase in activity.
Green supported the increase in fees when they are appropriate, but he had a concern about doing it to maintain staff. He asked for the next quarterly report to contain whether there is a trend in issues requested of staff. He thought the waiting period could be minimized.
Morrison requested that when Towery goes back to Finance and Audit that she wanted to see a trend on building and planning applications for the past three years to show increases and decreases.
Towery stated he would return to the Board for a report in April.
d. ORAL DISCUSSION/Land Use Settlement Authority.
Towery commented the decision to reach a settlement on the outstanding citation for the Cottage Grove Speedway should have been communicated with the Board prior to the decision being made. He stated he would do a better job in the future should similar circumstances arise. He said the decision was made after considerable consultation with County Counsel, the hearings official and with the Public Works director.
Towery explained the history with Lane County compliance program was a couple of years old. He noted in the first year this came to issue as a compliance action and the Boardís interest at the time was to try to work with the owners of the property to bring the issue to some resolution. He said the compliance actions they proceeded with were based on the hearingís officialís decision for the application for non-conforming use the owners had made. He noted that decision was ultimately appealed to LUBA and remanded. He said it was the basis of the citations that they executed against the Cottage Grove Speedway. The status of the citations is that about half had gone through a preliminary hearing before a hearings official. He noted that LUBA had remanded the decision on the non-conforming use. He said that resolution resulted in the dismissal of four of the citations and the amendment of a fifth. He added the annexation of the property that occurred in the intervening time, eliminated the Countyís future jurisdiction of violations that would exist. He said it also eliminated any means for the hearings official and the Court to come to a definitive decision about the validity of some of the citations. He said they have to rely on the policies and procedures they have in place. He noted that there had been debate about the scope and debate and type of enforcement actions they should proceed with. He stated that ultimately the task forceís recommendation to the Board was a principle of code enforcement that relies on the goal of achieving voluntary compliance. He said it wasnít designed to be a punitive program. He said creating fines and getting revenue is not the primary focus of the enforcement program, getting to compliance is. He added compliance with County rules was reached by annexing the property into the city. He added that the violations that occurred fell within a level two priority. He said the land use planning priorities for level two enforcement actions relate to businesses operating without land use approval.
Towery explained the process was an operation of local impact. He noted the Board did not find that there were issues of countywide significance associated with the non-conforming use decision that is part of the basis for the Board to not hear the appeal and it was forwarded onto LUBA.
Towery stated if they were to pursue the citations and not reach an agreement, any revenues they would have received would not have been net revenues, they would have been offset by staff time, legal costs, out of pocket expenses for the hearings. He added that Land Management ultimately pays for county counselís time in its indirect costs. He said it was not a burden on the taxpayer; those costs are borne by the applicants for building permits and planning applications. He noted that Lane Code, Chapter 5 sets out the procedures for administrative enforcement, Lane Manual Chapter 5, clarifies that and vests the authority of the department director to designate the responsibilities under administrative enforcement proceedings in an enforcement officer. He said the director of Public Works had granted delegation to the manager of the Land Management Division. He noted in this case there was not a final hearingís official decision, there had been a preliminary hearing on half of the citations. He explained after a fine is final, the decision about whether or not to place a lien on the property and how much that lien should be, is vested with the enforcement officer. He added once that lien is filed, the debt becomes the policy responsibility of the Board of Commissioners and that is when they formally become engaged in an administrative enforcement proceeding.
Wilson explained that once a lien is filed on the property, then the issue of foreclosure of the lien brings it within the litigation component. She wasnít aware of situations where they have had land use enforcement activities that arose to a level that would have been brought to the Board. She commented the Cottage Grove Speedway was a unique situation. She said the language for authority of settlement on the litigation was written ten years ago, because they had issues about where the authority delegation should be divided. She added the Board had been developing a more structured process and the results of the task force and the adoption of the policy was a change of direction and a cleaner description of what should be taking place with compliance
Green thought past practice was consistent on how these issues are handled.
Dwyer thought this was handled poorly. He stated that anytime there are items of dispute before the Board, that Land Management needed to confer with the Board before they make a final settlement offer. He said they need to differentiate between running disputes and items before the Board. He added the Board needed to be involved in the conclusion.
Hampton commented that if an issue is a hot item, more communication with the Board is necessary.
Sorenson asked what the plan was to return the money to the Okrays.
Towery noted that she had paid appeal fees consistent with the Boardís adopted schedule and policies for appeals. He added the Board didnít have a history of returning appealsí fees based on the outcome of appeals.
Sorenson thought the money should be refunded, as it was a unique situation.
Green thought that refunding the money was setting a bad precedent and he would not encourage the Board to go in that direction.
7. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes
B. County Administration
1) ORDER 03-12-17-3/In the Matter of Closing Out Corrections Construction Fund 415 and Transferring the Remaining Fund Balance Into the County General Fund.
C. Children and Families
1) ORDER 03-12-17-4/In the Matter of Awarding Eighteen Month Contracts for Healthy Start Services to the Following Six Agencies: Relief Nursery, Birth To Three, Parent Partnership, Pearl Buck, and the University of Oregon - EC Cares, and Delegating Authority to the County Administrative Officer to Execute the Contracts.
D. County Counsel
1) ORDER 03-12-17-5/In the Matter of Ratifying the Authority of the County Administrator to Execute a Lease with the Oregon Military Department.
E. Health and Human Services
1) ORDER 03-12-17-6/In the Matter of Ratifying the County Administratorís Decision to Sign the Grant Application to the Department of Human Services for Oregon Childrenís Plan Special Projects in the Amount of $300,000.
F. Public Safety
1) ORDER 03-12-17-7/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract with Motorola, Inc. to Purchase Dispatch Radio Equipment in the Amount of $332,057.08.
G. Public Works
1) ORDER 03-12-17-8/In the Matter of the Vacation of a Portion of Rose Street as Platted in Sparkís Addition to Blue River City, and Recorded in Book 3, Page 37, Lane County, Oregon Plat Records, Without a Public Hearing and Adopting Findings of Fact (16-45-28-20).
2) ORDER 03-12-17-9/In the Matter of Authorizing a Lease and Option Agreement Concerning Tax Lot 17-03-25-13 00500.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Hampton MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
8. CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
a. ORDER 03-12-17-10/In the Matter of Appointing Judith Hampton and Rob Jerome to the Lane County Commission on Children And Families.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-12-17-10.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
9. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
a. ORDER 03-12-17-11/In the Matter of Appointing Three New Members, Ruth Duemler, Debra Hope and Cynthia Roberts to the Lane County Health Advisory Committee; and Reassigning Three Existing Membersí Position Type/Number.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-12-17-11.
Dwyer MOVED, Hampton SECONDED.
10. MANAGEMENT SERVICES
a. ORDER 03-12-17-12/In the Matter of Establishing a Diversity Task Force to Develop Phase II of Lane Countyís Diversity Implementation Plan.
Laura Yergan, Management Services, stated the current diversity plan had been in existence for eight years. She said the initiatives that had been in the plan had all been addressed or ongoing. She noted that they are at point to assess where they had been with diversity, where they are currently, and what direction they want to go. She said the recommendation is to establish a task force (similar to the original task force) to review what steps they want to take in the future. She noted the task force would have 25 members on it with broad representation. She commented it was critical to get rural representation on this task force. She said they were going to integrate diversity into the Countyís operations and procedures to be responsive to community needs and have the greater population access County services. She added that everything in the plan should be aligned with the Strategic Plan.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-12-17-12.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
b. REPORT/In the Matter of Providing Direction to Staff for Disposition of an Operating Domestic Water System Acquired Through Tax Foreclosure.
Sorenson explained there is a privately owned water system outside of Eugene that hadnít paid property taxes. He noted there had been increasing concerns on the part of public health and the customers that Lane County might have to step in to help.
Jeff Turk, Management Services, indicated the County has acquired a tax foreclosure of the former Seavey Loop Water System that serves 40 customers in a subdivision off of Seavey Loop Road. He said at the time the County got the property, the former operator was under investigation by the Public Utility Commission for customer service and the quality of the water. He noted when he had discussions with PUC, he was told the former owner was issued civil fines to get them to comply with providing better customer service. He added an alternative in the staff report was that the PUC could declare a system abandoned and find someone who could operate the system for the property owner. He said when the PUC realized the County had acquired the property through tax foreclosure, their proposal was to have the County have a lease with an operator they had identified. Then the PUC would issue an order declaring the property abandoned and the customers would be informed of the new operator. He said an alternative would be for the County to lease the entire property to Ravin, LLC to operate the system. He said it would be stipulated that they would need to operate the system as a water system under PUC regulations. He suggested doing this in a way to minimize water disruption.
Dwyer asked what the value of the property was.
Turk responded it was about $22,000.
Dwyer suggested letting the neighbors know what is going on. He thought they should put this matter off and have Hampton talk to the neighbors.
Turk noted the PUC had approached the neighbors to see if they wanted to become a water district and they didnít.
Wilson explained that through the foreclosure process Lane County had acquired an ownership interest as a foreclosure owner. She said the Board is protected from environmental liability matters as long as they stay as an owner. She added as soon as they start making changes and turning on the water, they would pick up the risk of liability.
Green concurred with Dwyer that they contact the PUC and Ravin, LLC to let them know Lane County is working on it. He added that Hampton should talk to the neighbors and then come back and report to the Board.
Sorenson reported this should be brought back in one month.
11. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Evaluation of County Administrator.
Van Vactor commented that Lane County government is a good organization to work for and part of what makes it great is the people he works with. He thought the first half of the year he succeeded in balancing the 03-04 budget. He gave himself high marks for that in the spring. He thought this fall it had been harder for the Management Team to lower the service level and they were reluctant to take no for an answer. He said the net effect was that it created stress for him and it is a difficult environment to be successful in. He had higher goals when he started in the fall with the Strategic Plan and the reduction plan for the organization. He thought as a Management Team that they let the Board down in terms of what they should have been recommending to the Board. He was concerned about the direction of the organization and what the long-term plan is.
Dwyer commented that Van Vactor is always accessible and responsible to his inquiries. He stated Van Vactor was the right person at the right time for County Administrator.
Green stated that Van Vactor is faithful to the Boardís decisions and works hard to implement them. He added Van Vactorís commitment to the Board is very high and it has been consistent that way. He commented that Van Vactor is always looking out for the Countyís best interests. He noted that Van Vactor attended many PERS and AOC meetings. He said the challenge was around the diversity piece around the Management Team and ethnicity to have an impact.
Morrison said that Van Vactor had challenges this year with the changes on the Board and trying to read peopleís minds. She added that clarity is not there from the Board to Van Vactor. She thought Van Vactor was more visible with his community endeavors. She added that his commitment to the organization is phenomenal.
Hampton commented that a person who is highly effective results in a lack of issues and because there are no issues and due to the good comments from others, he didnít think you could ask for anyone better than Van Vactor.
Sorenson appreciated Van Vactorís diplomacy and experience. He added that Van Vactor is skillful, loyal and experienced in carrying out the Boardís direction. He suggested that Van Vactor delegate more. He thought Van Vactor was more comfortable being the behind the scenes person that makes the organization work. He commented that this had been a difficult year for Lane County government but it was a good year for Van Vactor and he had done a good job.
Van Vactor thanked the Board. He commented that he didnít plan to do his job forever. He encouraged the Board to start looking around for more talent through their organization.
12. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
13. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
14. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
To take place after the meeting.
15. OTHER BUSINESS
The Board presented Nancy Waggoner, Human Services Commission, with a certificate for her help with the residents of Saginaw Park.
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 11:45 a.m.