BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
June 25, 2003
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Tom Lininger and Anna Morrison present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
12. PUBLIC WORKS
a. DISCUSSION/Report and Recommendations from the Land Management Task Force-Compliance Program (NBA & PM 4/8/03).
Jeff Towery, Land Management, explained there are four primary policy issues that they wanted guidance on. He said they are the guiding principles and philosophies and the priorities for code enforcement that are attached to the cover memo. He said the other items appear on page 2 of 2 of the agenda cover memo; the doubling of fees in compliance cases for planning and sanitation permits and the possibility of funding the compliance program through a compliance surcharge. He said the doubling of the fees is needed to equal what they are currently able to do with building permits. He said they don’t have the authority to double planning and sanitation fees in the event of a compliance issue but they could provide that authority through policy direction from the Board of Commissioners. He noted that a compliance surcharge was one of the possible funding mechanisms they reviewed and identified at the task force level and is used by Deschutes County. He added that was a recommendation that the task force did not support.
With regard to the compliance fee, Towery indicated it is a newly used source of revenue for compliance. He said they budget about $40,000 per year and will not hit the target this year, as they will be closer to $30,000 in the current fiscal year. He added that is higher than any other year in the past. He noted for the first time they budgeted funds for clean up in the compliance program. He said they have about $32,000 budgeted in the 03/04 – fiscal year budget that could be used to help clean up properties.
With regard to the investigation fees, Towery noted there was nothing the Board needed to do other than to be aware that Land Management is more aggressive and more consistent. He said there was already a mechanism in place for liens and foreclosures.
Sorenson wanted Land Management to process both items three and four to get the necessary Lane Code provisions worked on work with budget and legal to get it to the Finance and audit Committee so the implications could be known and Finance and Audit could review it.
Towery explained they currently have three add-ons to their permit fees: technology assessment, a flat $10 fee; administration surcharge that supports Land Management and a long range planning surcharge.
With regard to compliance, Morrison commented that unless they really want to enforce it, they shouldn’t have it. She was supportive of the investigation fee but didn’t support a compliance surcharge.
Dwyer wanted policies to be strict, persistent and preventive.
Sorenson commented they have a large number of compliance problems and they should have a surcharge and pursue them. He thought if they knew the amount of work and dollars it would take to clean up every compliance problem, they could adjust the fees at the Waste Management Division and use the money to solve the problems.
Lininger suggested exploring a compliance surcharge. He wanted to spread the cost across the County more evenly, not penalizing people who are abiding by the rules. He commented, the more the price goes up for compliance, the more the people are getting out of the compliance area. He suggested Land Management take general fund revenues for their department.
Green asked why the task force did not support the compliance surcharge.
Towery responded because it is a narrow population of people who are already complying and they are following the rules and they would be charged more than the people who are breaking the rules.
Green wanted to give Land Management the tools for enforcement, to get to a level of consistency and credibility.
Dwyer suggested setting up a designated fund that could raise the tipping fees or rates of fee for dumping by 50 cents. He said that could go into a dedicated fund for compliance and nuisance removal. He wanted a policy where the people understand that the County won’t tolerate junk vehicles and junk lying around. He said that would go to making the county a little better. He thought they should put together a plan on the most severe places. He wanted cost recovery, as people should get part of their investment back.
Sorenson reiterated there was some support for the fee for planning and sanitation. He said there was some support for the compliance surcharge or having it evaluated to look at its implications. He added that there was feedback on working with their division on the amount of money needed to deal with the compliance issues and working with Waste Management on how different options could be computed.
Morrison wanted to tighten up the noise ordinance, as it is not working. She wanted enforcement so they could take action.
Towery said if the Board agreed with what was in front of them, he would bring the items back as an order. With regard to the recommendation on policy guidance and guiding principles, he said they would incorporate that into a budget document on an annual basis for the Budget Committee and the Board to review.
Towery passed out information on the Cottage Grove Speedway (copy in file). He noted that to date they had issued 13 notices of failure to comply to the Cottage Grove Speedway. He said two more are pending. He explained the people at the speedway have modified the way they are conducting their business to the point that as long as they continue to do what they had done the last few weeks they will see two notices of violations. He said they are violating the hearings official’s standards with respect to the number of cars they run and the use of the lights. He said they have $9,700 in total fines and appeals fees. He noted they have now submitted building permits for all of the facilities that are on the property. He estimated the double fees would be about $4,000 for those building permits.
Green asked if the Speedway was annexed to the City of Cottage Grove.
Towery responded the owners of this property and an adjoining piece of property have petitioned the city for annexation. He said the city council by resolution has started to move the annexation process forward. He noted that applications and fees have not yet been filed with the Boundary Commission. He explained if the property is annexed, it becomes the city’s to deal with and Lane County would be out of it, including the appeals of the LUBA decision.
With regard to Jim Gillette and Secret House, Dwyer thought it was business as usual.
Towery responded that he notified Secret House on what the standards are. He had an expectation that they were working on an application to allow those types of activities. He said the fringe country fair activities came as a surprise to them.
Van Vactor suggested that Land Management and County Counsel review that issue and do an oral report to the Board next week. He recommended giving them notice that if they don’t comply, the County will be prepared to shut the operation down.
Snowden commented that Lane County has collected fees for those fines that the Speedway has appealed.
With regard to Jim Gillette, Towery said that old enforcement actions have resulted in the filing of liens for about $12,000 and they are still there.
Sorenson asked why they are not foreclosing on Gillette’s property.
Towery said there are pending foreclosures that are ahead of this one. He added that this is a relatively small lien compared to the potential value of the property. He added they had to consider the cost of foreclosure versus the amount of the lien that is outstanding.
Marc Kardell, Assistant County Counsel, said the recommendation is to get the fine amount and the lien closer to the value of the property. He added that it makes more sense than to go through a foreclosure sale.
Green wanted to foreclose on the property.
Sorenson wanted this next week as an oral report.
Green suggested coming back to the Board after Gillette is notified and then start the proceedings.
Dwyer said they had bent over backwards for Gillette and tried to be sensitive to his needs. He said they should write a letter to him about paying his fine, or then they would raise the level for him to comply.
Sorenson suggested that Towery come back next week after he sends a letter to Gillette.
b. REPORT BACK/Limitation on LMD Planning Director’s Discretion (NBA & PM 5/21/03).
Lininger commented that after he read this, and after speaking with Kent Howe, this was unlikely to occur.
13. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
14. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
15. OTHER BUSINESS
ORDER 03-6-25-11 Ratifying the Tentative Agreement Between Lane County and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2831.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-6-25-11.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 4:35 p.m.