LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

May 6, 2003

5:15 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 4/22/04

 

David Crowell presided with Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Mary Ann Holser, Tom Lininger, Kathy Keable, and Peter Sorenson present. Anna Morrison, and Francisca Johnson were excused.

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

 

II. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

 

None.

 

III. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT BUDGET

 

Dave Garnick, Senior Budget Analyst, explained that the budget for Health and Human Services for next year is $74,134,000, including $3.9 million of general fund.  He commented that overall, the general fund had only gone up by 2.29% and the other funds had gone down.  He said they had to build their budget to show the level of service at next year’s cost.  He noted the analysis memo showed they cut almost $10 million but their real cut was $11.5 million and 47.5 FTE.  He said their reductions were much greater because their expenses grew faster than revenues.

 

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, stated they looked at ways to restore some of the rural health clinics.  He reported the department now has 240 employees.  He explained that administration involves direct programs with vital records, prevention and direct programs.  He commented budgets within Developmental Disabilities are high due to the type of client.  He stated there is still a gap in the state budget with Developmental Disabilities that had not been handled yet.  He commented that 40% of people with developmental disabilities would lose services because they lost eligibility.

 

With regard to Parole and Probation, Rockstroh said that the state had been sent an opt-out letter stating that within 180 days Lane County might send the funding back to the state.  He added that also means staff and the entire function of Parole and Probation.  He said they didn’t want to be stuck with Parole and Probation without adequate funding.

 

Rockstroh commented that the Human Services Commission is broad-based.  He said it brings human service funding collectively to the City of Eugene, City of Springfield and Lane County.  He noted the budget is $7.7 million.

 

Rockstroh stated that Mental Health took the most cuts.  He noted that 47 positions had been cut.  He stated there was zero dollars for crisis mental health.  He explained that Lane Care is owned by Lane County and they were using some of the funding to sustain their clients until June 30.

 

Rockstroh explained that one of the goals of the Strategic Plan is to ensure the provision of basic social support in areas of health care, disease prevention and protection, poverty reduction and independent living.  He noted page 25 of the budget explained how they allocated the resources.

 

Rockstroh explained the package on pages 9, 10, 11 is a way of backfilling.  He said it would partially restore the $245,000 in cuts.  He said some of the core functions of public health are trying to help the communities work with other areas.  He said they proposed to cut the rural clinics because the costs have increased faster than the revenue.  He said when Health and Human Services prepared their budget, they used the principles of the Strategic Plan.  He commented if they cut the Eugene Clinic, they would impact more people than cutting the rural clinics.  He said if they leverage some of the money, they could get people in the local communities to help them.  He said his proposal (page 10) is if they have the ability to add money back, he didn’t want to take $50,000 out of his own fund reserve.  He said he could save money by terminating people. He asked if the County would be willing to take the proceeds of the sale of the Florence annex to put into his department for rural clinics. He said they would ramp down the hours.  He suggested funding 1.5 community service workers and  $30,000 to include materials and services to make the system work.  He wanted to work with the communities to leverage monies.

 

Lininger stated that Rockstroh had come up with a proposal to save the Cottage Grove, Oakridge and Florence health care clinics.  He said this proposal would preserve clinic time in Cottage Grove, by 1.5 days per week and it would propose that a portion of the costs be passed to local communities.  He noted the overall cost of maintaining the service is $162,000 and Lane County through Health and Human Services would meet most of those costs. 

 

Rockstroh explained this was a partial restoration.

 

Lininger stated the goal as the Budget Committee is to compromise on the process of geographic equity so not all cuts are coming from the rural areas.

 

Dwyer liked the idea.  He said they need community cooperation to make this work.

 

Green asked if the $100,000 proceeds from the sale of the annex would be the capital he would plan on using for operations.

 

Rockstroh said the Board would have to make a policy choice to take $100,000 out of the $400,000 from the sale of the Florence annex to set it aside for operating money this year

 

Van Vactor explained that number 12, would not be normally used for operating purposes but would be used for one-time capital expenditure for the project.  He said they would have to intentionally know they were not complying with financial policies.  He stated the sale of the annex had fallen through, and it is not absolutely sure that money will come through.  He recommended that this issue be highlighted as coming back on May 20 or May 21 for deliberation.

 

Rockstroh stated he was putting his reserve up, (not general fund money) and it is a one-time issue that he would not bring up again.  He didn’t want to close down the three clinics.

 

Dwyer noted they were looking at options of a federal health clinic and they could design a system so the rural clinics qualify as satellites.  He expects this to be a one time-matter to keep it solvent while they construct the system.

 

Rockstroh thought it was workable to float a loan for this. 

 

MOTION: to approve Rockstroh’s proposed changes for selling or getting a loan for the money from the Florence Annex and opening a partial restoration of services for family health services in Cottage Grove, Oakridge and Florence.

 

Holser MOVED, Lininger SECONDED.

 

VOTE: Unanimous.

 

IV. SHERIFF’S OFFICE DEPARTMENT BUDGET

 

Garnick explained the Sheriff Office’s total budget is proposed to be $45.3 million for next year, consisting of five different funds, with the general fund amount at $41 million.  He added the Sheriff’s Office generates within the general fund over $16 million worth of revenue to help support their operations.  He noted the discretionary general fund use is $24.5 million.  He said they had to reduce their overall budget by $350,000 in the current year as a result of state budget cuts with another $1 million proposed to be introduced, including 84 beds in the jail.  He explained the overall budget is up about 4.3% with those reductions in place.

 

Jan Clements, Sheriff, stated there are mandated responsibilities through the Sheriff’s Office that have to be carried out or delegated and are overseen by the office of the Sheriff.  He said they have 380 FTE staff.  He added they have certification requirements for deputy sheriffs plus they are contractually obligated to provide for in-service training for the deputy sheriffs.  He added they are mandated to provide for the court security as well as the transporting of people.  He said they are mandated to provide service of civil and criminal process.  He said they are also mandated to provide for search and rescue within Lane County.  He explained the County is mandated to provide for emergency management and coordination of the functions as it relates to Oregon emergency management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and that are delegated to the sheriff.

 

Clements noted corrections is mandated to provide a jail that is constitutionally run that provides for the health and welfare of inmates in their custody.  He said they provide the hub to pull together a major crime team from various cities.  He added the broader range of services they provide in corrections that are not necessarily mandated are alternative programs including the Forest Work Camp that is Title III funded. 

 

Clements reported that in unincorporated Lane County they have approximately .57 deputies per thousand citizens, with a population of 103,000 unincorporated, covering 4,610 miles.  He noted the calls for service in 1990 was 63,000 and in 1998 83,000.  He explained the western states average of deputies per thousand for the type of policing they do is 1.8 deputies per 1,000 citizens and Lane County has .57.   He added they no longer respond to alarms validated by private security.  He said they do not do property crime preliminary investigations.  He didn’t think they were getting accurate reporting because people wouldn’t report crimes that would have direct officer involvement.   He added they don’t have active police patrol because people are either going to call for service or they are enforcing traffic laws.  He noted they also have a mounted posse that has been used.  He said they also contract out to the Dunes and marine patrol, with the cities of Creswell and Veneta for municipal levels of law enforcement.  He said they report dispatch assistance to the City of Coburg and the Oregon State Police, Parole and Probation and possible service for the US Forest Service.

 

With regard to the Corrections Division, Clements said they have 485 beds and it is the only countywide facility.  He said inmate lodging ranges from a few days to multiple years based on circumstances.  He commented the operation of the jail is the same as a small city.  He said running the jail exposes them to a greater liability.  He said the Community Corrections Center has 116 beds and the Forest Work Camp has 95 beds, funded by Title II and Title III monies.  He noted they operate under a federal court order to keep the jail population within established limits.

 

Clements said in 1998 LCOG did a forecast for Lane County’s needs in 2003.  He said if the Forest Work Camp was running at 120 beds  and had a fully operational corrections center and jail, they would need an additional 338 beds by 2003 for the system, but they are in the process of cutting 119 beds over the next two fiscal years.

 

Clements commented that Lane County’s Strategic Plan is critical to protecting citizens and visitors.  He believed that prudent risk investing will pay in the future for either preserving infrastructure in capacity to do what they are required to do as a government or they will be leveraging some small investment dollars to capitalize a greater level of services that the citizens expect.  He reported the Sheriff’s Department was approaching state and county shortfalls aggressively.  He said the Sheriff’s Department would deal with the issues and secure the future for the constituents.

 

With regard to lost beds, Clements said they would lose 84 slots that are medium security.  He noted the funding for the 84 beds is a commingled state grant, aid and general funds but the cuts are being made due to the shortfall in County general fund dollars.  He said as County services degrade causing people to go off of drug and alcohol programs, they become police problems and law enforcement officers have no choice but to bring them to jail.  He reported that matrix releases would go from 4,000 to 5,000 or an increase of 25%.

 

Jerry Smith, Springfield Police Department, reported they operate independently.  He commented the jail is crippling the rest of the system and they are impacted because there is no capacity.  He noted that Springfield arrests about 25 people per day.  He added other cities are using the Lane County jail.  He commented the matrix number in the jail was down because they were not taking criminals to jail anymore.  He said they are letting the citizens down.   He commented that bail is a thing of the past but it could be converted to fines.  He said the courts were losing money because they don’t take bail.

 

Lininger reiterated the importance of add packages the Sheriff discussed.  He noted the Strategic Plan states that life and public safety are above all other priorities.  He said the jail is important.  He said they have to compliment the prevention strategy with the risk of incarceration.  He thought without that, crime pays.  He noted this has a $559,000 price tag.  He hoped they would get more aggressive with projections that show the legislature fix of PERS.  He hoped that would free up more revenue.

 

Holser suggested having correction staff not paid at the level of regular staff.  She said they should be looking at saving money with personnel.

 

Clements stated they have been aggressive at considering how they staff certain positions.  He noted they would be staffing some positions with lower paid classifications.  He said they are looking at an offender management program in cooperation with the custody referee’s office.  He said they are doing everything they can, and will continue to do so.  He couldn’t control how much the Sheriff’s deputies are paid at the corrections center.

 

With regard to preserving their investigative capabilities, Clements reported they are able to appropriately collect evidence, prepare cases for trial and oversee evidence.  He noted they   have one-third the detectives of other comparable agencies.  He added they also serve as the hub for the major crimes team that is an interagency team formed from the Florence, Oakridge, Junction City, and the Coburg police departments.  He stated their proposal as it relates to investigation preservation, would fund burglary, the INET Team and a subsidy of the domestic violence investigator.  He added the remaining portion of the domestic violence investigator is provided by a violence against women grant.  He said the proposal would be to add the INET detective, the domestic violence investigator and the burglary investigator.

 

Clements reported the Lane County Traffic Enforcement Team addresses transportation safety on over 1,700 miles of county roads, including interstate highways.  He added in addition to traffic enforcement functions, the traffic enforcement teams are available for emergency response to life threatening calls for services.  He noted four traffic team deputies are proposed (three who would at least be a resident in outlying areas) that would address serious injuries and fatal crashes and provide a cushion to respond to priority one and two calls for services.  He said they believe the team could also provide an offender and proactive school driver’s education component that could raise revenue and mitigate the cost of the program.  He suggested funding that would be an investment in future capacity and ultimately the program (based on an existing model) would pay for itself.  He said they could establish an enterprise fund that is overseen by a Justice of the Peace, a sheriff and a budget analyst that could support the traffic safety component as well as dealing with the integrity of traffic enforcement in Lane County.   He added that team members would be used to help personnel reductions in rural areas of the County.  He commented it would be a marginal hedge in the Florence area that it would not address all that a resident deputy could do. He noted there would be a positive financial effect for the Justice Courts in Florence and Oakridge.  He believed it would reduce the response time for the high priority calls for service.

 

Lininger commented this was an opportunity to save lives for free because it will be a revenue neutral add package.  He said it would create a presence of rural deputies who could respond to other dangerous calls.  He said this pays for itself and he urged everyone to consider this and how it ranks with the Strategic Plan.  He added it was the greatest potential for life saving.

 

Clements requested an add for a Program Services Coordinator.  He noted the classification exists in Lane County.  He said they have a model that has been demonstrated at the Department of Youth Services wherein they brought in over $20 million.  He said there would be a Department of Homeland Security that has money, but it requires research, partnerships and collaboration.  He said they need a position that is focused on the resources that are available.  He proposed that this position be a two-year time limited position and if it does not demonstrate its worth, he would recommend that the position end.  He thought the money that was earmarked for the PSCC could be put into that position to help subsidize it.

 

Green wanted to tentatively approve what they had heard.  He wanted to maintain as much of the system as they could.  He thought there was merit to having a Program Services Coordinator.

 

Sorenson commented that the impact to the citizens of having uncontrolled roadways is an increase in speeding and deaths.  He wanted to go ahead with the traffic team instead of waiting.

 

Van Vactor suggested that the Budget Committee review the spreadsheet on the traffic team.  He wanted to see if this could pay for itself.  He thought an interfund loan could be an option.

 

MOTION:  to tentatively approve the Sheriff’s budget as presented and then highlight for a later discussion the general fund and special fund add packages.

 

Sorenson MOVED, Lininger SECONDED.

 

VOTE Unanimous.

 

Johnson stated she didn’t have all the figures for the traffic team and wasn’t comfortable passing the motion.  She commented they had to be prudent about making promises ahead of time on issues that are important.

 

V. ADJOURN

 

There being no further business, Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary