BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

WORK SESSION

March 11, 2003

9:00 a.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 4/2/03

 

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.

 

1.ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

None.

 

2.PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

None.

 

3.COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE

 

Dwyer commented that gas in California is $3.00 per gallon for full-serve and $2.50 for self-service.He added there was no relationship between gas prices and self-service.He stated that Oregonians repeatedly voted self-service down and he wanted to make sure that legislators know that.

 

Lininger said he met with the Mayor of Coburg.He said they are interested in knowing how zoning would work outside of the city limits.He said they wanted guidance from the County about the zoning of Coburg.They wanted to direct staff to assist with the project.

 

Sorenson commented that important policy choices nationally, internationally and locally were not going well.He hoped the system would prevail and there would be independent intervention at the local level to forestall some bad policy choices. He noted that Oregon was hardest hit by the largest unemployment and hunger rate.

 

4.CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

 

a.PRESENTATION/Findings of the Analysis of Lane Countyís SB 555 Coordinated Plan for Services for Children and Families by the Cultural Competency Consultation Group Chair. (NBA & PM 1/29/03)

 

Dr. Charles Martinez, Oregon Social Learning Center, gave a presentation on the findings of the analysis of Lane Countyís SB 555 Coordinated Plan for Services for Children and Families by the Cultural Competency Consultation Group. (Copy in file.)

 

Martinez commented the plan was not to create new programming, as much as they are providing implementation guidance for ideas in existing programs.

 

Green noted that Oregon Criminal Justice Commission and the Oregon Commission on Children and Families had made it a requirement for all 36 counties to have one plan, Senate Bill 555.He added what the plan requires is a component of cultural competency.He said that Lane County was one of 21 counties that had their plan sent back to them as a result of not having a full cultural competency component that needed to be based upon demonstrated evidence on practices that could be implemented.He added there are costs for training and also a cost for not doing it.He noted that the organization could be sued in class action lawsuits for failing to serve a population that pays into the tax system but doesnít receive the full benefit of the tax structure.He said if the State of Oregon believes that this is an important component, then it would be important for each county to have it for their organization.He wanted to implement this information in such a way that it merges with ongoing practices in Lane County.He thought equal treatment was the outcome.He said this should be shown how it could be done on an organizational basis.

 

Dwyer requested a summary of things that could be done that would have no direct costs associated with them.He asked for a wish list from Children and Families.He didnít want to put effort into things he didnít have control over.He wanted a fact sheet on what they wanted to see the policy makers do.

 

Martinez commented they need to develop new culturally competent performance measurements standards by finding out how their programs are fulfilling their goals around cultural competency and measuring them.He noted there was not a perfect way to measure cultural competency.He said there is a need for technical assistance around developing a systematic way of measuring it.

 

Martinez said that leadership must incorporate and embrace institutionalized cultural competency standards.He added if people are embracing efforts around these dimensions, it is important for it to trickle down to providers and staff.He said it was important that leadership is involved.

 

Green concurred that leadership needed to demonstrate a commitment for this.He said they have to make sure internally they are doing the best job they can and measure themselves by that.He wanted the Department of Children and Families to list what they wanted the Board to get behind.He requested a follow-up meeting so this doesnít get lost.

 

5.COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a.Announcements

 

Van Vactor reported they are working on ID Cards to be issued to employees.He noted they would be working with departments on the budget review.He stated that Judge Cindy Cable came from Florence and met with him and Dave Garnick about the collapsing revenue in the rural justice courts.He thought the best strategy would be to create a County Administrator Task Force to review the issues.

 

Dwyer suggested a surcharge for people who want to select a court closer to where they live.He thought it could help subsidize the court.He added it was a revenue stream that was fair to allow to make a choice, but not at the expense of the court system.

 

b.DISCUSSION/Budget Deficit Update.

 

Dave Garnick, Senior Budget Analyst, passed out a work sheet. (Copy in file.)He recalled when he did his budget forecasting, he forecast a deficit of $1 million, but if the other revenues didnít grow, then the deficit would be larger.He noted the deficit is now $4.5 million.He explained that expenses had grown more than discretionary money plus all other revenues could cover.He added as part of the service information sheet process and the Strategic Plan, they have gone through each department with a prioritization process.He noted that the Strategic Plan states that whatever reductions are made to direct services, there should also be a proportionate reduction in support services.He stated the total indirect for next year is $10.6 million and the general fund portion is $4.377 million or 41.27%.He said the amount of support service, 6.6% is general funded and the balance of $10 million is funded by all of the other funds.He noted the balance is funded for the direct services for a total of $102 million.He explained the $4.5 million deficit represents a 4.4% reduction in their total general fund budget.He added if they applied the percentage toward dollars that $4.2 million would come from direct services and the proportionate share from support service is $284,000.

 

Garnick explained total resources grew by $1.27 million or a 1.3% growth.He noted the total expenditures grew by 5.76%.He said if expenses grew, but the other revenues did not keep up, they would be increasing the size of the deficit.

 

Garnick commented the largest growth was personnel services at 4.59%. He stated that salaries went up less than 1. 2% and there was some growth in the reduction of unfunded vacation or time management sales due to people retiring and selling 200 hours.He commented that employee benefits are where the majority of the increases took place.He noted that out of the $3.7 million shown as a deficit, $2.2 million is the PERS increase which they have no control over.He added another $1.2 million is the health insurance and retiree medical.He stated Lane County does not have the revenue to keep up with the increases and that was what caused the deficit.

 

Garnick suggested the sooner they make adjustments the better because next year the health costs are projected to go up another 12% with retiree medical going up to a 30% increase.He added that PERS is continuing to go up at 10% per year and he anticipated large increases in this category.He was concerned about property taxes when there are so many people being laid off.He said there would be problems in the future.

 

Sorenson asked what options the Board had to solve the $4.5 million shortfall in the budget.

 

Garnick responded that they could do reductions.He noted there were other revenues that could be redirected, such as room tax and car rental tax.He said there was a suggestion to do a 15-month budget and reductions early this year.

 

Van Vactor explained when they blended the different programs under the service information sheets, it was a subset of the Management Team.He noted there were some funds that could be redirected.He said they had been using the Strategic Plan as their guideline.He noted there was no agreement on what they should do for the reductions.

 

Van Vactor commented that eliminating services could have consequences.He said it could mean closing a 48-bed individual cell ward of the jail.He said they discussed eliminating prosecution of all non-person crimes, misdemeanors and felonies, closing Pathways and possibly eliminating Animal Control.He commented they were not working on any revenue strategies, like a tax, on a staff level.He said if the Board were to consider a property tax bill, the filing deadline is March 20.

 

Sorenson thought Lane County would be better off with a no-revenue budget in light of the time it would take to put together a proposal.He thought they should put the budget out with the options that are presented instead of looking for a revenue option.He thought they should move toward a balanced budget assuming no significant change in the basic revenue picture.

 

Van Vactor stated he brought forward those proposals to the Management Team and in the past they had not been well received.He conveyed that he didnít believe there would be consensus to redirect any of the revenues.He noted there was strong interest from some members of the Management Team to ask the Board to do that.He said unless they hear different, they will build a budget that doesnít assume that those funds would be redirected.

 

Sorenson believed it was Van Vactorís duty to make the budget with the current Board policies.He said if the Board wanted to change that they could.He suggested a conservative course.

 

Lininger commented the shortfall was caused by the increased cost of employee benefits and it must be borne in part by employees.††

 

Dwyer stated that some departments donít get general funding, like Parks.He said they get their money from the car rental tax and they donít get any supplemental general fund dollars. He said they have to think about the ramifications of taking that money from them and putting it into the general fund.

 

Morrison agreed with Dwyer that they have to look at each of the funding streams to see where they go to make the determination around public safety and the decision tree.She asked how they could force the benefits issue.

 

Dwyer said the issue couldnít be forced.He said they could show what the choices would be or to reduce the size of the work force.

 

Van Vactor noted when the Public Safety Department saw this, (in trying to apply the Strategic Plan) that some of the reductions were not even and the system would not be balanced.He said they are meeting to see if they can set up a balanced budget.

 

6.HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

 

a.DISCUSSION/Loss of Oregon Health Plan Prescriptions (No Material)

 

Dr. Robert Wheeler, Chief Medical Officer, Lane Individual Practice Association, passed out a summary of the Oregon Health Plan program and the impact of the changes.

 

Steve Manela, Human Services Commission said there were impacts to the community to the loss of prescription medication by some of the citizens in Lane County.He said the decisions at the state impacted the community.He noted it was uncertain what the Oregon Health Plan would be like in the future.

 

Wheeler explained the Oregon Health Plan is the methodology for delivering health care to Oregonís Medicaid population.He added as it was designed, it was broken into three categories:physical, mental and dental health.He said contracts were let out separately.He said the Oregon Medical Assistant Program handles a certain number of people outside of those contracts and handles the prescription medicines for mental health.He noted there were 30,000 members in Lane County.He said this was a ration program where there is a prioritized list of diagnosis and services with cut-off points.He commented the big change this year was the divisions of health plan enrollment categories into Oregon Health Plan Plus and Oregon Health Plan Standard.He noted that 8,200 of 30,000 were in OHP standard and they began having reduction in benefits.He explained when the state is looking at budget, they are looking at the Oregon mandatory population.He said it includes most of the people on OHP Plus.

 

Wheeler stated the prescription drug reductions resulted in problems. He said the legislature realized there was a human impact and that something needed to be done and found emergency funds to fund the prescription benefit for the OHP Standard through June 30.He added unless there was additional revenue, they expect all of the people would lose their prescription benefit July 1 as well as all of their health care coverage.He was concerned that people would be untreated and it would lead to difficulties in the community, with a large burden on the public health and safety clinics.He noted that next week a community leadership forum would take place with representatives from hospitals and government.He said they would identify resources and responses to coordinate them.

 

Sorenson asked what the Board needed to do.

 

Wheeler responded that there needed to be a coordinated community response.He said they would have to piece things together and advocate for revenue-based solutions.He added there were opportunities for sensible rationing.He said there needed to be advocacy from the local, state and national level.He noted that pharmacy manufacturing should also be involved.He didnít think there was a defensible reason why any Medicaid program in the county that is at or below federal poverty level should pay more than the lowest acquisition cost for any prescription drug.

 

Manelareported the federal government is looking at an economic stimulus bill and currently there is only enough to fund the categorically eligible people.He said not only are they looking at the loss of prescription medication, but the potential loss of care.He said they are hopeful that working with LIPA and others and the community forum, that they could study this.He said everyone could do small things, but there was nothing they could do to significantly impact the crisis.

 

Green presided over the meeting at 11:50 a.m.

 

7.COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Lininger thanked the Land Management staff, as they solved the problem of signage in the Goshen Elementary School.He said they reviewed the requirements and the fee was only $48.He said he had been working with EWEB on the concerns of the McKenzie residents who are ratepayers but are not participants for their electricity.He said the EWEB officials are concerned about the exclusion of the McKenzie people.

 

Morrison announced that tomorrow there would be 16 people from Florence who are going through leadership training.She announced that the Rotary Auction is on Saturday and the Daffodil Drive in Junction City is on Saturday. She noted the District 5 Meeting is on Monday.

 

Green stated he would be participating in a conference call to discuss the use of funding from the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.He said the NAACP held their conference.He said Lane County was able to send 14 area youth to the conference.He thanked CVACLO for their support.

 

Dwyer reported he would be on Ask Lane County on Thursday on KPNW, discussing animal regulation.

 

8.EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

To take place at 1:30 p.m.

 

9.EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 


There being no further business, Commissioner Green recessed the meeting at 12:10 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary