LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE WORK SESSION

May 13, 2003

5:15 p.m.

Commissioners Conference Room

APPROVED 4/22/04

 

Chair David Crowell presided with Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Francisca Johnson, Bobby Green, Sr., Kathy Keable, Tom Lininger and Peter Sorenson present.  Mary Ann Holser and Anna Morrison were excused.  County Administrator Bill Van Vactor and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

 

Chair David Crowell called the Budget Committee meeting to order.

 

II. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

 

None.

 

III. BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS & COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

DEPARTMENT BUDGET

 

Anette Spickard, Management Analyst, reported the budgets for both the Board and County Administration are budgeted within the general fund.  She said they are requesting $2,373,211 in account authority for the next fiscal year. She added it was a small increase over the current year. She explained that County Administration reduced their budget by $93,283.  She added there is an additional $60,000 reduction.  She noted in total the Board and County Administration would take a reduction of $153,283 for the next fiscal year.

 

Van Vactor reported that Peter Thurston of Economic Development, manages the community development block grant program and works with the Economic Development Committee.  He noted that one of the budget reductions that occurred in general expense would have a significant impact on County Administration.  He said in the past they had contracted $40,000 with LCOG for cable franchise management.  He said for that amount of money, they would try to assume that responsibility in-house and that will fall to Thurston.  He added that under the franchise agreement, they have to publish a telephone number where people who are unhappy with their cable service would call Lane County.  

 

Van Vactor reported on the various duties in County Administration and for Board of County Commissioners.

 

Van Vactor noted the materials and services reduction was $5,521. In order to reach County Administration and the Board of Commissioner’s share of addressing the deficit. He added that $25,562 was reduced from the Performance Counts account.  He noted they would be bringing in people instead of sending people to conferences.  He said there would be a cut from two conferences to one per year.  He said they were reducing $20,000 from materials and services in budget and planning. He added they are recommending a $5,000 reduction from each of the commissioners’ accounts regarding extra help.   

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the budget for County Administration and the Board of Commissioners.

 

Green MOVED, Johnson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

IV. COUNTY COUNSEL DEPARTMENT BUDGET

 

With regard to County Counsel, Spickard reported they are budgeted within two funds:  the general counsel and the general fund.  She said they are proposing the expenditure for the general fund at $781,278 for next year.  She said they have total resources of over $673,000, with a net general fund use of $107,000.  She added they also have the law library general fund that is budgeted within its own fund that is self-supported.  She said their budget request is for $356,795.  She noted the significant impact to the law library fund is that in order to maintain ongoing operations, they were required to draw down some of their reserves for the next year.

 

Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, reported the general counsel part of their budget is self-insured.  She said that her office handles all of the litigation against the County.  She noted from last July to March 48 cases were settled for a total of $60,000.  She said the highest settlement of the cases was $5,000.

 

Wilson stated they had gone through some cuts in their office.  She said within the current year, a position was transferred from their office to HR.  She added they eliminated the extra help funding for the law clerk.

 

MOTION: to approve the tentative budget of County Counsel.

 

Green MOVED, Lininger SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

VI. GENERAL EXPENSE DEPARTMENT BUDGET

 

Heaton reported that general expenses currently consist of 13 funds for mandated and essential services that cannot otherwise be allocated to an individual department.  She stated the total budget is $79 million.  She noted the general fund is $5.2 million, including the Extension Service, the LCARA transfer, indigent mental health, federal lobbying contract, veterans services transfer, legal advertising, Metro Cable franchises, external financial audit, association dues, the INET agreement with the city, the AIRS conversion project, transfers for debt services, public service building ground maintenance, interest on tax anticipation note, miscellaneous general expense, employee benefit savings and the overall County general fund operational reserve.  She noted the expenses for Extension Services are up 2.6% and the increase is offset by a decrease in operational reserve.

 

Bo Freeman, OSU Extension services, explained that they are having a 40% reduction in staffing.  He said they currently have 26 staff and three students working.  He added that 11staff and two students were on grant dollars.

 

Heaton noted the operating budget for the year is $604,105.  She added there are $50,000 in contingency and $211,000 in reserves.

 

Freeman said they are working with others and getting grant monies. He said they are trying to subsidize dollars and to keep the services at low cost.  He said they are going to have to possibly charge for some workshops.

 

Heaton stated the reductions in the general fund were rural cable franchise, $40,000; wildlife damage control $25,200; Public Access TV, $7,500; and HACSA, $8,228 for the elimination of the payment in lieu of taxes that Lane County has been making for HACSA.  She added the O & C endowment funding went down this year.  She noted that no additions had been requested.  She recommended tentative approval.

 

MOTION:  to tentatively approve the general expense of the CAO budget.

 

Green MOVED, Johnson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

With regard to the self-insurance fund, Heaton said this is where they pay for insurance claims like worker’s compensation.  She said it is charged over a five-year period out to the department where the damage occurred.  She added it is an interservice fund where they take care of the self-insurance claims.  She reported it is decreasing this year by 1.8%, but materials and services are up due to professional and consulting services.  She noted the operational reserves are for future claims and required liability reserves and those have decreased by 19%.  She added there were no requested additions or reductions or policy issues.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the self-insurance fund.

 

Green MOVED, Bartlett SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Heaton passed out an addendum with regard to the employee benefit fund. (Copy in file.)  She said they are recommending splitting it with some of the expenses so they add two more funds.  She reported the employee benefit fund increased by 17.8% or $6.3 million.  She added most costs were formula driven   She said they took a rate reduction on the PERS estimate to help balance the general fund deficit and that created changes for other funds.  She said they transferred $527,000 to the general fund to help bridge the gap so they were building up a reserve in the employee benefits fund.  She explained in the employee benefit fund, they have the amount going for retiree medical.  She said the finance manager had recommended that they set up an individual trust fund for that retiree medical benefit.  She said that 3% of payroll would be allocated to the retiree trust fund.  She said what they are doing is transferring the retiree medical benefit revenue and expense from fund 614 to fund 714.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the retiree benefit trust fund.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

With regard to the pension bond fund, Heaton said in March 2002 they sold limited tax pension obligation bonds to finance $70 million of the unfunded liability related to PERS.  She noted that the finance manger is recommending they set the monies aside to pay the PERS bond into a separate fund so it is not mixed in with the regular operational PERS payments and regular operational health benefits.  She said the recommendation is to establish the pension bond fund that will take the portion of the payroll surcharge meant to pay the bond and put it into a fund where the bond payments come.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the pension bond fund.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Heaton explained the Budget Committee had taken $2.2 million and $4 million out of the employee benefit fund and set them aside into separate funds.  She said the other adjustment they have is the PERS reduction.  She noted in the proposed budget they did the PERS reduction where they reduced the rate of PERS and put that reduction in all of the departmental budgets but they did not get it into the benefit fund budget.  She said they were recommending a reduction of $1.79 million.  She said if the don’t do this reduction, they would affect all department budgets.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the employee benefit fund with the request adjustments.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

With regard to the special revenue service fund, Heaton explained they have tourism, video lottery, affordable housing and state court security assessments.  She recommended that tourism stay flat.  She noted there was no room tax diverted to the general fund for the next year.  She said with community economic development they use a video lottery policy where 50% of the new annual revenue is allocated to internal economic development projects and 50% is for projects.  She said the strategic investment projects estimated for 03/04 is $337,045.  She said this might have to be changed during technical adjustments due to unknown factors from the state.  She explained that the affordable housing balance of unspent funds is $12,000.  She added with state court security that it is a fee the state court charges and it goes into an account in the general fund and they use it to pay for the security at the front of the courts.  She recommended tentative approval.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve of special revenue service fund.

 

Dwyer MOVED,  Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Heaton explained the juvenile justice construction fund has a balance of $5 million and they are recommending tentative approval.  She said there were no changes or additions to the remainder of the bond.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the juvenile justice construction fund.

 

Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Heaton noted there is $6.3 million in the Title III timber project fund.  She said it is the requirement from the Board of 20%. She said it was recommended approving the fund.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the Title III timber project fund.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 7-0 , one abstention.

 

Heaton noted that the capital improvement fund was a non-operating fund to provide the accounting control for large capital projects.  She said they had moved most of the capital improvement project money to Management Services, but there is a small balance remaining of $16,000.  She recommended tentative approval.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the capital improvement fund.

 

Green MOVED, Johnson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Heaton explained with the debt service funds, they have the general obligation retirement of $336,000 that is the juvenile justice center bond payment. She said the Fair Board debt is $356,000. She noted the special obligation bond retirement for the AIRS conversion and roof projects and Richardson Park is $2.4 million of revenue and expense.  She said the PERS pension bond is $4 million. She said the Weyerhaeuser control bond is $1.3 bond with the LCOG bond building debt of $398,000.   

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the debt services funds.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Johnson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

With regard to the County Schools fund, she stated there is $6,691,000 in the fund that had increased by $47,000.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the county schools fund.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Johnson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

VIII. PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT BUDGET

 

Spickard explained that A & T is entirely budgeted within the general fund and for the  next fiscal year they are requesting the total expenditures to be approved in the amount of $4,951,476.  She noted they receive a small amount of resources into the general fund and their net general fund use is proposed to be $4,768,864.  She said during the budget preparation phase, they reduced their budget by $25,000 under their share of the general fund deficit.  She added they made reductions in their base budget to meet budget guidelines of $57,155 for a total reduction by $82,204.

 

Jim Gangle distributed a hand out. (Copy in file).  He said they collect about $282 million they give to 80 taxing districts on an annual basis and Lane County keeps under ten cents for every dollar collected.  He said as part of the budget process, they compared themselves to the Strategic Plan.  He said they fall into mandated services.  He said they could participate in a grant they receive from the state.  He expected their department to receive 38% that is funded by the state.  He noted that maintaining compliance with the Department of Revenue standards is an important part of what they do.  He added the Board had already approved a grant and it was submitted by May 1 to the Oregon Department of Revenue.   

 

Gangle announced that they would have five people leaving appraisal from January 1 and the end of May.  He stated with the passage of Measures 47 and 50, Lane County took a big reduction of staff then and they are still feeling some of the affects.  He explained that local option levies still rely on real market value for calculations.  He noted there is $1.1 billion dollars of assessed value. He noted that more properties would be assessed at real market value.  He added in the past year they have added construction to the tax roles.  He added that increased revenue to $570 million of assessed value through new construction.  He noted they added over 4,000 residential accounts that were appraised.  He said by the way they are monitoring adjusting values; they were able to avoid hiring appraisers back.  He added they are able to continue to work with the resources available to maintain and stay within compliance.

 

Green asked what the status was on the Sony property.

 

Gangle responded with Sony, (because the closure occurred after January 1) they expect no impact on the January 1, 2003 value.  He said Sony’s payment would have been $95,000 to the County.  He said the question would be what happens in 2004.  He said if they could remove all the machinery and equipment, the only thing that would be taxed would be land and buildings and the real value is in the machinery and equipment that is inside the building.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the budget for Assessment and Taxation.

 

Green MOVED, Bartlett SECONDED.

 

VOTE:  8-0.

 

With regard to the overview of Public Works fund, Spickard explained they have funds in the general fund with Land Management Division.  She noted even though they are budgeted within the general fund, there is no discretionary fund proposed fees for next year.  She said the dollar amount requested in their proposed budget is $3,348,383.  She added there is a possibility of a technical adjustment to the budget in June regarding long range planning.  

 

Spickard noted the parks and open spaces fund has the Parks Department as the only department that is budgeted in the fund and they are self-supporting through fees and car rental tax.  She stated the proposed budget for the parks and open spaces fund is $2,446,048, but the proposed budget for the Parks Department was prepared using the Option B scenario of the Board work session regarding the fee increase and there will be a technical adjustment regarding that fund.

 

With regard to the general road fund, Spickard explained it is a fund that has constitutional restrictions around the use of the money.  She said the proposed expenditures for the next fiscal year for the road fund is $76,224,009, including amounts for reserves for future projects in the amount of $18 million.  She said that amount is associated with the funding of the five-year capital improvement program that was adopted by the Board.

 

Spickard said the public land corners preservation fund is requesting a proposed budget of $1,597,000.  She noted there is a reduction in the fund of $200,000 for next fiscal year because there is the elimination of one survey crew proposed in the budget.

 

With regard to the solid waste disposal fund, she said there is a proposed budget of $29,714,070 and there is a large reserve amount related to the closure and post closure costs of Short Mountain Landfill.  She noted it is an enterprise fund that functions more like a private business and is self-sufficient.

 

Spickard said the fleet fund is for the replacement of vehicles for a total of $17,130,402.

 

Ollie Snowden, Public Works, explained that even though the road fund should end this fiscal year with a $40 million cash balance, the decisions the Board made by adopting the capital improvement program and city county road partnership, means they will spend more money than they will take in over the next several years and they will draw the reserve down before the renewal of the County payments legislation.  He noted the operational and personnel expenses are predictable but the capital expenditures are not.  He added they don’t always get the project completed on time as programmed in the CIP.  He said the reserve is allocated to go forward.  He said with the CIP that was adopted last week by the Board, they don’t believe without re-authorization of county payments legislation that they would have enough money to build the projects in the last two years of the program.

 

Snowden reported the road funds come from national forest timber sales that are covered by County payments legislation.  He noted for the next fiscal year, that amount will be $19,354,000 and for the following year they anticipate $19,606,000.  He said if they don’t have the County payments guarantee, that money would be less.  He added another substantial source of revenue is investment earnings and they anticipate a loss next year.  

 

Sonny Chickering, Public Works, stated they have 189 employees to maintain over 1,400 miles of road and over 400 bridges in Lane County. He noted that an unmet need is restrictions on what they could use road funds for.  He said that the Attorney General’s opinion was strict about water that falls within the right-of-way that could be treated using road funds, but water that falls outside of the right-of-way and is brought to the right-of-way through terrain they could not use road funds to treat.  He said they have no funding or revenue source to deal with off right-of-way drainage issues.

 

Snowden added that there are other functions supported by the road fund. He said administration, a portion of the support services division including accounts payable, receivable, payroll and other functions are funded from road funds.  He noted their safety program is funded out of the road fund and they have $188,000 in the facilities maintenance section of Management Services because three of the custodial staff at Delta is funded through Dan Banducci’s budget.  He said in the Sheriff’s Office there is $1.7 million in road funds that includes $700,000 for the weigh master program and $900,000 for the inmate road crew.

 

Lininger asked if money from the road funds could be used for long range planning in Land Management.

 

Snowden responded that the road funds had supported two FTE’s in Land Management for the subdivision engineer and an assistant.  He said they had a recent discussion about placing an additional $40,000 into Land Management for long range planning.  He noted that would be a technical adjustment.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the road funds from Public Works.

 

Green MOVED, Johnson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Snowden noted for Title III projects, they had $550,000 budgeted this current year for acquisition of the Crocker property.  He said that money had been spent and he didn’t anticipate any other Title III projects coming up in Waste Management this year.  He said the department was down slightly from last year because of conservative estimates.  He said there is a $16.1 million fund balance.  He said the majority is allocated to the Short Mountain cell development fund for the Short Mountain closure or post closure fund.  He said they needed to have a reserve so they could expand the landfill.

 

Patty Hanson, Waste Management, stated they have 100 employees.  She said there is one dump and 15 transfer sites.  She said they are trying to recycle as much as possible and they are setting up new products to keep as much waste out of the landfill as possible.  She added there are three old landfills in Lane County.  She said it is prudent to put money away for the time they do have to close the landfill.

 

MOTION:  to tentatively approve the solid waste fund.

 

Green MOVED, Keable SECONDED.

 

VOTE:  8-0.

 

Snowden reported that permit fees, payment for services and other non-discretionary general funds support Land Management.  He said in the past year they had $60,000 to help subsidize their fuel break and inspection permits on properties adjacent to federal lands. He said the Board with the recent fee increase, allows to make full cost recovery of those permits and to add three FTE to the long range-planning program.

 

Jeff Towery, Land Management, explained there is a reduction of two FTE in the surveyor’s program due to retirements.  He noted the reimbursement they are providing to the road fund surveyor’s program from the corners fund isn’t keeping up with revenue.

 

With regard to the general fund, Towery noted they have five programs of service. He said the surveyors provide $160,000 for the surveyor’s program and $160,000 in administrative costs that come from road fund activity.  He said in planning and zoning, the Board approved a 7½% across the board fee increase with the exception for permits processed on forest lands, in an effort to free up the Title III money that has been used to support the processing of the planning applications and permits.  He added it gives the Board the flexibility to reallocate the Title III funds to other eligible costs.  He noted there is an increase of one FTE as a result of fee increases and a retirement of a senior planner.  He said they reallocated the resources from that to a planner’s position and a land management technician position.

 

Towery noted the Board also approved the 7½% fee increase in the building program.  He noted there were no changes in the funding level.

 

With the compliance program, Towery noted there were significant changes.  He said a recommendation that was made by the Land Management Task Force was for the County to utilize resources for abatement and clean up of properties.  He said from the revenues generated in the other programs they identified resources in abatement line items of $115,000.  He said they wanted to allocate some of that for long range planning.  He said a significant recommendation from the Land Management Task Force was to increase the County’s presence in long range planning.  He said the recommendation before the Board is an add package to add three FTE to the long range planning program.  He said the additional positions are dependent upon revenue changes.  He said they would utilize additional road fund support for eligible long range planning activities related to metro planning and small city planning.  He noted the Board had given direction to increase the filing fees for partitions and subdivisions in support of long range planning that will generate $14,000.  He added $65,000 of Title III and reallocated $80,000 of compliance abatement funds would allow them to fund the three FTE.

 

Towery said the unmet needs include a $400,000 that would digitize everything.  He said the second option is the hardware, software and FTE to start the project.  He added the third option is $100,000 to digitize the backlog.  He also identified office remodeling and the unmet need for long range planning.  He said they wanted to work with IS staff to increase the level of customer self-help available so customers are better prepared.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the budget of the Land Management Department.

 

Green MOVED, Lininger SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

MOTION:  to tentative approve the Corners Fund and general fund piece.

 

Green MOVED, Lininger SECONDED.

 

VOTE:  8-0.

 

Snowden said  even though the Board increased the park user fees, it wasn’t the full increase that was originally built into the budget.  He said there was a 9% drop in the proposed budget and they still have to make up another $50,000, based on the level of user fees.

 

Rich Fay, Parks, said they currently have 13 FTE providing services for 2 million visitors per year at Lane County parks.  He said they have 59 park properties, 175 campsites, 24 boat landings, 522 boat slips, 16 reversible picnic shelters, 18 miles of trails, Camp Lane and 43 day use areas.  He said they have an important mission to provide recreational opportunities to the citizens and to connect people with the natural resources available in Lane County.  He said they do it with programs within their fund:  parks and operations program, capital improvements program, systems development charges program, the marina improvements and development program and the McKenzie Trout Hatchery program.  He added they don’t receive any general fund money and the car rental tax provides about 50% of their funds and 25% from state funding.  He said the rest is from campsite rental, admission fees, picnic reservation and moorage fees.

 

Van Vactor asked what their future issues would be.  He heard Fern Ridge might not be available next year.  He asked how much that was a part of his revenue for Parks Division.

 

Fay said their part is close to $250,000 in revenue.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the Parks Department budget.

 

Green MOVED, Johnson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

With regard to the motor and equipment pool fund,  Snowden reported it was the fleet fund that is an internal service fund that is funded through rental fees and vehicle replacement fees as well as work they do for other agencies.  He noted the vehicle rental line item is $935,000 and fleet hourly equipment is $3.1 million.  He said it is the bulk of the revenues coming in next year.  He noted they have a fund balance of $12 million that is similar to road fund and the solid waste fund.  He said the money is earmarked for vehicle replacement fund when a vehicle’s useful life is over.

 

Dale Wendt, Public Works, explained they have four programs in their fleet fund.  He said with maintenance and repair, they have 15 technicians.  He said they have three people on procurements of fuel and parts. He said they are going to be having a labor rate increase.  He said they charge out per hour and they are gong up to $51 per hour this year. He noted this year they would be replacing four-gallon fuel tanks that will be about  $350,000.  He thought their replacement fund would grow at about 5% per year to keep up with inflation on equipment.

 

MOTION: to tentatively approve the motor and equipment pool fund.

 

Green MOVED, Bartlett SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

IX. DISTRIBUTION OF NEXT MEETING MATERIALS

 

Garnick passed out draft minutes of April 29 to be approving on Thursday, May 15.

 

X. ADJOURN

 

Adjourned 8:55 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary