BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

May 1, 2003

5:10 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Commissionersí Conference Room

APPROVED 5/21/03

 

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

 

1.CALL TO ORDER.

 

2.COMMITTEE BUSINESS.

 

Lininger reiterated the written record is open until May 15, 2003.

3.PUBLIC COMMENT.

 

Walt Vandecar, Junction City, stated he has been a sheepshearer in Lane County for 35years.He reported he has worked as a volunteer for Wildlife Services for several years.He supported the Wildlife Services because people are dependent upon the predator program.He noted the predator program is not only for sheep but also for beaver control in the county.He asked the Board to support Wildlife Services.

 

Duane Richardson, 91024 Kirk Road, Junction City, said there is a need for predator control. He stated they have an expert working on predator control as a trapper and his work is important.He said the animals killed by coyotes and cougars would lessen peopleís income.He didnít think it was fair to take the wildlife person away.He noted the granges supported keeping the Wildlife Services.

 

Jim Forbes, Executive Director, Looking Glass, stated he was concerned about the changes with the Oregon Youth Authority and other parts of the juvenile justice system. He said there would be massive changes for the Oregon Youth Authority who have youth in closed custody and will no longer have access to those beds.He was also concerned about the cuts to the Department of Youth Services ($230,000 to the general budget) and for Pathways ($250,000).He reminded the Board that Lane County should focus on improving the lives of Lane County youth.He hoped the Board would reconsider the cuts.He hoped the whole system wouldnít fall apart.

 

Bud Montgomery, 28679 Summervile Road, Lorane, stated he has been raising sheep for 17 years and up until last year they had not had problems with coyotes.He said he called wildlife support and within a couple of weeks they had taken care of the coyotes.He noted this position was essential because the wildlife population had increased.He asked the Board to keep this going.

 

Richard Wyant, 25453 Highway 36, Cheshire, represented the Lane Pomona Granges.He noted that 25 grangeswere all in support of the Wildlife Services Program not being cut.

 

David Poppy, 3093 Whitbeck, Eugene, stated he volunteers at the Child Advocacy Center.He asked the Board to consider funding the legal secretary position.

4.LANE COUNTY UNMET FINANCIAL NEEDS.

 

David Suchart, Management Services, reported his unmet needs are the animal welfare officers removed from the LCARA budget and a position in Human Resources.He noted the items he did not discuss earlier were in capital construction needs.He commented with the new voting system, the space in the Elections Division is inadequate to continue handle voting.He said the Facilities Committee had asked him to do a search of an adequate place to put elections into and to move them out of the annex.He added there is a need for a Facility Maintenance Specialist.He noted the County has a number of facilities that run 24 hours; seven days a week and they do not have maintenance for repairs on weekends or in the late evenings.†† He stated it would cost $370,000 to run all of their buildings 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Suchart noted there are a number of major capital needs.He said there is about $85 million in work that needs to be done on County facilities, including HVACís and earthquake modifications.He said they are beginning to spend $500,000 to $750,000 with the capital improvement program.He stated the biggest capital need is the Public Health Building.He noted it was on the November ballot last year and it failed.He thought it was important the community have an adequate efficient place to deal with public health needs.He said the number he originally used was $29 million and if there are changes in keeping Parole and Probation and doing other things, he could lower the amount.††

 

Jim Gangle, Assessor, said they have issues in bringing divisions of property up to date.He said appeals are an important part of their work and they are handled through the Board of Property Tax Appeals. He noted that once an appeal is made, the value stays for five years.He added they have cell phone and communication towers that havenít been added to the rolls.The department also has software issues in getting the database updated.He noted the above wereclose to causing problems.

 

Gangle explained they do have deferred maintenance.He noted that some properties were last examined in 1991.He said they have a problem in keeping and maintainingaccurate property values. He added the information is outdated and at some point they would have to do reappraisals.

 

Gangle wanted to examine paying property taxes through the Internet and enhancements in public information to provide voice response so people could look up their information online or through the telephone.He noted that represented about $1 million in adds.

 

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, reported they need a family planning clinic nurse.He said they were also going to ask for a half-time communicable disease nurse.He noted some of these positions were cut from the budget and he was adding them back.He explained that it would cost $245,000 for staffing, janitorial and materials and services for the rural clinics.He noted the add backs to public health total $445,226.He added that alcohol and drug offender services and sex offender treatment is $96,000 or 1.25 mental health specialists to be restored.He noted another position would add back the DUI correction person.He said it was an evaluation unit and would add back 1.15 mental health specialists to do the evaluations.††

 

With regard to mental health, he wanted to restore two mental health specialists to do indigent care.He noted these cuts were to restore cuts from last April.He said that Lane County has zero dollars for crisis whether internally, or externally from the state.

 

Rockstroh said that Lane Shelter was a cut and it is an add back for something they already had.†† He said it was critical for mental health. The total is $353,000.

 

With regard to Parole and Probation, he said fourteen staff positions would have to be added back for over $1.1 million.He noted the Department of Corrections was reducing funding.

 

Rockstroh said $100,000 could be put toward a community pharmacy.

 

Rockstroh noted a large entry was $880,000 that could serve 123 people on a waiting list for homeless housing emergency shelter for 60 days of housing.He noted there is $500,000 to add services to 4,000 people on the waiting list.He noted the amount is $3.75 million for a total add-back of $5,835,722.He stated there was $11 million in cuts and this was an add-back package.

 

Lisa Smith, Department of Youth Services, reported that the detention and intake shifts are understaffed.She added there could be more reductions by the Oregon Department of Education for detention school, the reduction of school staff and the possible elimination of summer school.She added that would require additional detention staff to meet the staff-to-youth ratios.She noted detention staff provides the minimum for safety and security. She said they wanted to get that to appropriate levels. She added the detention on call budget is underfunded.She said historically detention is over budget by $100,000 per year and they divert funds from somewhere else to cover the shortfall.She said that is because it is a 24-hour-a-day facility requiring on-call staff.

 

Smith explained that an average of 75 per cent of youth in the juvenile justice system have mental health, as well as alcohol or drug issues. She noted the cuts have included a 100 per cent reduction in Oregon Youth Authority funded shelter beds in the state.She added there has been a 41 per cent reduction in the Oregon Youth Authority cap.She said they could (prior to April 1) commit up to 68 kids at any given time to secure closed custody but that has been reduced to 40.She noted that four out of six facilities have completely been closed.She stated that youth will now have to stay in the community.Their needs will be addressed by the Department of Youth Services. She explained thejuvenile crime prevention category fund reductions would be reduced from $3 million per biennium to $1.3 million.

 

Smith said the DYS total training budget is $30,000, with $18,000 in grants specific to the activity and participants.She noted the remaining $12,000 is in general funds and needs to meet the general training needs for the entire department.She commented it became more critical with staff leaving due to PERS.She added it doesnít cover training detention staff.She said people from closed custody would go back into the community with no support services and less supervision.She said there is a need for alternatives to detention and there is cost effectiveness in electronic monitoring and restorative justice.She added a top need is sustainable funding for juvenile councilors.She noted over the past few years they have lost over nine positions in DYS because positions have come open and were not filled in anticipation of the end of their federal grant.She added due to state and federal cuts, the Department of Youth Services could potentially lose an additional 10 positions this year.She said that would mean a loss of 15 to 20 per cent of their regular work force at a time when they are expected to see more kids and to do more with less.

 

Jan Clements, Sheriff, commented they had always put in add packages every year so things arenít forgotten, knowing that the money is not there.He said there has been the criticism of either putting in too many adds packages when there isnít the resources or failure to put it in.He noted the jail annex and the intake stabilization would be addressed this year.He said the two add packages constitute a proactive approach toward what he wanted to see for Lane County.He said they need a Program Services Coordinator.He stated they have two pools of money, from Corrections and Homeland Security.He said they are aggressively working with two grants.He added they are contracting with LCOG to write the grants.He said the model was created by Youth Services.He said it would be a time limited position that would run for two years that would prove itself to work or they would end the position and that would be his commitment for that program.

 

Clements noted from a problem-solving standpoint, the traffic team add is characterized as revenue-neutral.He said it would be self-funding over time.He said it could be phased in and assist with some rural difficulties.He commented there is a presence in the rural area that is degrading.He said thelack of troopers exacerbate that problem.He stated that modest amounts of general fund allocation for overtime would enable the traffic team deputies (when off duty) to be called in to handle emergency service calls, to stabilize the situation until other law enforcement gets there.He said besides Florence, he would recommend placing a traffic team deputy up the McKenzie.He noted the mission was to reduce the incidents of serious injuries and fatal accidents.

 

With regard to the recent highlighted fatalities, Green asked if this was the time to introduce a special law enforcement district.

 

Clements responded that people are weary of traditional tax measures.He thought this was the time to discuss the education piece on how they are going to provide criminal justice services in a public safety district.He wouldnít recommend putting a measure on the ballot

5.COMMUNITY FINANCIAL REQUESTS.

 

Anette Spickard, Budget Analyst, reported they were trying something new by allowing the public and community agencies outside of Lane County to bring issues to the Budget Committee.She noted it was similar to an unmet needs survey of outside community requests.She explained in the past people had come to the Budget Committee through the public comment process and it hadnít always been the most effective way to make contact with the committee.She commented that this year in developing the budget process, they notified community groups that if they were interested in putting forth an issue to the Budget Committee, they would submit their request in writing ahead of time.She noted there are 20 groups that requested funding this year.She noted that on May 20 and May 22, those nights are scheduled for committee deliberations and the committee could discuss the items at that time.She stated that half of the requests were from human services providers.She noted the Human Services Committee addressed those requests,prioritizing the 13 requests.She stated that Human Services Committee gave the highest priority to critical mental health services.She added there is no identified funding for those requests.

 

James Baker, President, Blue River Community Development Corporation, read his letter into the record. (Copy in file.)He stated the request is for $743.

 

Carmen Urbina, Director, Centro Latino Americano, discussed the Los Ninos Program.She said the main service they provide is case management support for children and families from zero to six years old.She noted they leverage almost 2,000 hours of volunteer work.She asked for $13,890 for a .5 FTE so they could leverage another .5 FTE to establish an office in Springfield.She noted many families have lost their jobs and the needs are increasing.

 

Urbina commented the Los Ninos Shelter had been in the community for 15 years.She noted that Centro Latino Americano applied with 300 other community minorities around the United States and they were selected as 1 of 33.She added they are the only one in Oregon.She said it is for substance abuse and treatment.She said they provide a variety of services that other shelters do not, including bilingual and bicultural.She requested $41,855.She noted that would handle 23 beds, with 300 people visiting the shelter yearly.

 

Hilary Wylie, Executive Director, Willamette Family Treatment, said they provide the detox and residential services for Lane County.She said the chemical dependency treatment field had taken a $1 million hit since last July.She said they had last 22 jobs.She added that failure of Measure 28 took an additional 28 positions.She said Lane County now has only 38 adult beds.She commented it was not equitable with the rest of the state.She said Lane County is underfunded for beds.She stated that left 12 beds for males in the community with no outpatient treatment.She asked for two positions.She was trying to extend services and reduce waiting lists to meet the crisis needs.She noted they did not have a mental health specialist and with the loss of mental health services, they would be inundated with people needing the services.She thought it would be a key spot in the community to help meet the crisis need with the mental health specialist.She commented it was a way of trying to serve more people in crisis due to lack of service.

 

Megan Friese, Executive Director, CASA, said they were asking for financial support from the private and government sector to insure that every child that is in need ofservices receives them.She noted that last year 1,020 children were abused and neglected in Lane County.She added over 750 children are in foster care and that is the most in the history of foster care in Lane County. She explained the mission of their program is to support and train community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in court and to find safe and permanent homes.She added there is no other organization that performs the service that CASA does.She stated state law exists to provide a CASA volunteer for every child that is abused and neglected where the court is intervening on its behalf. She noted there are hundreds of children on their waiting list with 70 volunteers.She commented they receive no County dollars and government money comes from the state that is dedicated dollars through Commission on Children and Families.She asked for the Budget Committee to step up for the children who canít.

 

Green asked if the $30,000 CASA is asking for is from Lane County, or in response to a reduction from the state.

 

Friese responded she had enough money from private donors that would replace the money they are losing from the state.She said she couldnít move forward on her waiting list without the $30,000.

 

Joy Marshall, Lane County organizer, Stand for Children, stated that Lane County Cares is their program to improve the quality of childcare in Lane County. She noted that teachers could have no training and be in the business of childcare.She commented that 33 per cent of the children in Lane County (and statewide) are not ready to learn when they get to kindergarten.She thought the most important and cost effective place to put public dollars is in ages zero to five.She noted last year the Budget Committee gave them start up money.She added with the Department of Children and Families they wrote a federal grant and got matching funds.She noted there are three other counties in the state doing a similar child care quality program.†† She said they had helped approximately 530 children, either by helping the teacher stay in the field or go back to college care.She said their original proposal was $50,000 but they amended it to $20,000.

 

Sandy Halonen, NEDCO, stated they were asking for some money for the Threshold Homeownership Education and Counseling Program.She noted the program was started in 1994 by having several meetings with low-income families who wanted to figure out how they could eventually become homeowners.She said the program consists of 10 two-hour sessions that are on becoming and remaining a successful homeowner.†† She explained since they have been working on the threshold program, they have worked with about 200 households each year and 80 per cent of those households have become homeowners.She noted their total annual budget combining both organizations is about $120,000.She noted this is the only government funding they receive for the entire program, and also the only local funding they receive.She said it enables them to leverage funds to get the rest of the money for the program.She noted for every $1 dollar they get from Lane County, they bring in about $8 for the program.She said without local funding, it shows there is no local support.

 

Vicki Stay, St. Vincent de Paul, stated two years ago they got twice the money to enable them to leverage additional money.She said since 1994, they have brought in $225,000.She added they also bring in home start funds that are federal home loan bank funds to each family that buys $5,000 per family that are matching funds.She noted it costs $9,000 for a person to be a homeowner with a minimum of about 20 families per year.She commented that homeownership is life-changing to people.

 

Sheri Van Rysselberg, Relief Nursery, stated she works in a program called the Community Safety Net Program.She thanked the Budget Committee for last yearís funding as it kept their program running for another year.She said it kept the program going in the 97402 and 97404 zip codes in Eugene.She commented they are a month away from closing down the program completely and they need $40,000 to keep the program running to continue to serve the community.She noted they have volunteerswilling to keep the safety net running for not a lot of money and they are able to help a lot of people.She stated they receive 30 to 50 referrals a week from services to Children and Families that came from allegations of abuse and neglect.

 

Chaz Nebergall, Lane Shelter Care, reported they serve 500 to 600 people per year.He noted about half are coming out of the acute care system and either homeless or seniors in need of support after acute hospitalization.He said without the program, they would see significant impacts in the emergency rooms and the Lane County jail.He noted because of reductions in state and Lane Care funding, this program is in jeopardy of closing.He said they went from about $175,000 to $40,000.

 

Joanne Cook, Volunteers in Medicine, said they are seeking funds to continue to provide primary medical services, specialty referral and prescription assistance to people who have no insurance but are contributing to the local economy.She noted for every dollar that is collected, $3.00 is given in services.She believed that Volunteers in Medicine is a wonderful resource for the community.

 

Chuck Generate, Operation Manager, White Bird, reported they have been running a 24/7 comprehensive crisis response for Lane County for over 30 years.He said they started as a volunteer effort and they became the official crisis system response for Lane County for any generic crisis intervention need.

 

Stan Thomas, Southwest District, USDA Wildlife Services Program, Roseburg, commented that Lane County is the most demanding program in his district.He stated if they lose the funding and the program is gone, there would be more wildlife and problems.He commented that most people donít know how to help themselves with wildlife.He added if this position were not funded, they would lose matching funding.

 

Concerning the effort Wildlife Services puts forth for ranchers, Crowell asked if the ranchers contribute funding.

 

Thomas responded they didnít, as they pay their taxes and donít think they get a lot for what they put back, other than a predator program.

 

Crowell commented the timber industry in Lane County spends a lot of its own money on predator control for mountain beaver and doesnít have any help from the government.He thought it would make sense for commercial operators who receive benefits from their services to help out.

 

Lininger asked how other counties paid for these services.

 

Thomas responded it varied.He said if private businesses pay for this service, other citizens become upset.He thought it was something that could be worked out over a longer period of time.

 

He noted in 1981 half of the sheep industry was destroyed when this program left Lane County.

 

Kate Barkley, Womenspace, wanted the Budget Committee to recognize Domestic Violence as truly a core issue affecting health, public safety and human services.She commented that without the coordination the Budget Committee provided, they couldnít have successful prosecution.She said with so many services being reduced, it could have the effect of sending victims and children to the wrong place.She noted the proposal before the Budget Committee is for the domestic violence council that is not a service provider but a coordinator of services.

 

Sue Bond, City Councilor, Oakridge, said she also serves as the Chair of Lane Regional Housing Rehabilitation Consortium.She requested funds (approximately $60,000) from the fine fees Lane County collects from LRAPA.She said they have severe health issues because they have high particulate content in their air.She added many of the homes are dependent on wood heat and most are using uncertified wood stoves that spew particulates into the air.She said they wanted to use some of the money to leverage a grant they are preparing for housing rehab in Oakridge.She added they are able to rehab about 12 homes.She said they are also going through Westfir to apply for another round of money to rehab more homes.She added they have approximately 47 people on the list they cannot service.

 

Sorenson said they wonít know if they get the money from LRAPA until the end of the year.

 

Lininger commented that Oakridge has the stateís worst air particulate problem, and is one of the most needy and senior.

 

Bond stated cleaning up the air would attract more business, which would help the economy.

 

Holser asked if the commissioners could dedicate the funds coming from LRAPA to take care of the pollution problems.She added their mission is to prevent pollution.

 

Van Vactor responded that the money now goes into the general fund so if they were to expend $60,000 of money for that purpose, they would have to find $60,000 elsewhere.

 

Bond noted more fine money came in than the $60,000.She added the money would be funneled through the housing consortium administered through St.Vincent de Paul.They would be using it to replace inefficient wood stoveswith certified stoves.

 

Mike Mattick, State Water master, explained he is a state employee and Lane County provides him office space.He provides information about water rights locations and well logs and construction to people who are buying and selling property.He noted his main function is to settle water use disputes among water right holders when there isnít enough water to go around.He requested funding of a full-time seasonal assistant water master to do stream flow monitoring and regulation.He said they would give him more time about water rights.He said he is a one-person office.He added he also works in Linn County and they gave him $5,000 to help fund a part-time office assistant.

 

Jessica Shanney, Assistant Director, Food for Lane County, said they are the regional non-profit for food banking services.She said their clients are on the edge financially, they recently became unemployed or had an illness in the family or a senior citizen on a fixed income.She said last year they gathered and distributed approximately 6 million pounds of food last year.She added they also provide for 80 social service agencies and program throughout the County.She noted in 1997 they distributed 2.3 million pounds of food and had enough resources to pay for distribution.She added agencies paid a share contribution, they had an account set up and county and other funds went into that account to purchase to be distributed.†† She said after they moved into their building, the agencies they were serving were not able to pay for the amount of food they were putting through the system.†† They went from 2.3 million pounds in 1997 to 6 million pounds in 2002.She said because they donít have adequate funds to pay for the food they distribute, they have to trim their services.She said there is a large need in the County.She added they can get the food to meet the need, but they donít have the resources to pay for it.She requested $85,000 to help for food distribution.

 

Ed Monks, Executive Director, Catholic Services, stated his organization has been able to help people through the housing scholarship program.He said the housing scholarship program takes someone who is at risk of being evicted.He said they are referred to their agency which works with them for self-development and to stabilize their housing situation.He added they could stay in the program for up to two years.He said many people are better off, for an expenditure that is not a tremendous amount.He said these people risk being homeless and it is more efficient to work in prevention than in ashelter system.

†††

6.ADJOURN.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary