MINUTES

COTTAGE GROVE/COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

JOINT MEETING

October 13, 2003

APPROVED 11/25/03

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

Mayor Williams and Chair Sorenson called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

 

ROLL CALL/FLAG SALUTE

 

Roll was called by each member of each body introducing themselves as follows:

 

City Council Members Present:Mayor Gary Williams, City Councilors Matt Bjornn, Mike Fleck, Lindsey Haskell, Mary Meyer, Lynn Miller and John R. ďPatĒ Patterson

 

County Commissioners Present:Chair Peter Sorenson, County Commissioners Bobby Green and Anna Morrison

 

County Commissioner Excused:Bill Dwyer

 

City Staff Present:City Manager Richard Meyers, Public Works Director Bob Sisson, Community Development Director Howard Schesser, Police Chief Mike Grover, Finance Director Stewart Taylor and City Engineer Ron Bradsby

 

County Staff Present: County Administrator Bill Van Vactor

 

City Attorney Gary Ackley was present.

 

News Media Present: Ann Thomas - Cottage Grove Sentinel

††Paul Schwartzberg - KNND/KCGR Radio

 

Mayor Williams pointed out that Mayor Don Hampton of Oakridge is in the audience, and he is soon to assume the appointment for East Lane County Commissioner taking the place of Tom Lininger.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS

 

None


BUSINESS FROM THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

 

(a)County Commissioner Comments

 

Commissioner Green stated that members of the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee visited Cottage Grove not to long ago and as a follow-up asked him to inquiry as to if the Council has considered forming an advisory committee for human rights issues and if so how would you network with the Lane County folks.He stated that he isnít the liaison to that group, but Commissioner Lininger was and he is now off the Commission.Thatís why they asked him to make the inquiry.He stated that it would be helpful to have feedback from the Council so he could relay that message back to those folks.

 

Commissioner Morrison stated that she spent the day in Salem, and the Governor is going to be hosting a variety of community workshops with elected officials around economic development and the tax reform issue and several things that they are trying to put together.As they move forward on these things the importance of their local governments to be involved is going to be very important, because we all know that we provide the services that are basically mandated by the state.Sometimes we donít always get the dollars to go along with it.She stated that they donít have dates, but she thought it would be in January so everyone should start watching for that.

 

Commissioner Sorenson stated that he wanted to mention a couple of things.First, as Commissioner Green mentioned, the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee has been trying to increase its outreach to all of the communities in Lane County.Part of the reason the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee held a meeting in Cottage Grove earlier this year was to get that outreach.He pointed out that the Board appoints people to the advisory committee on an on-going and recurring basis as openings occur.He stated that Wednesday the Board of Commissioners are going to appoint Commissioner designate Mr. Hampton who gets sworn in tomorrow at 1:30 to the liaison position on this committee.And, in fact, are appointing him to all of the things that Commissioner Lininger was appointed to.He invited anyone interested in serving on the advisory committee or getting involved with it to contact County staff or one of the Commissioners.Mr. Sorenson stated that he would like to see Cottage Grove, as the largest city in the County outside of Eugene and Springfield, take the leadership on getting this Human Rights Liaison function going.

 

Mr. Sorenson stated that the other thing he wanted to mention was the effort by the people that are trying to re-appeal the tax measure that the Legislature passed in the closing minutes of the 2003 session.We are currently looking at the third effort by the opponents of this package which is both a progressive income tax as well as an appropriation for state and local services.He stated that the board hasnít taken a formal position on this yet.He stated that speaking on his own it bothers him that it took a tremendous legislative compromise to produce this and itís not easy to have produced this compromise and the governor reluctantly signed it, our republican and democratic members of Lane County delegation to the legislature supported it, and he thought it was really crucial that we get behind this and not let this go forward and not let it get repealed and torn apart.

 

Mayor Williams stated that regarding the Human Rights Advisory Committee issue, he suggested that Council may want to look at this as a future agenda item and discuss it at that time.

 

BUSINESS FROM THE CITY COUNCIL

 

Bob Sisson, Cottage Grove Public Works Director, stated that there are four items listed and they are all just informational items to let the Board know whatís going on in Cottage Grove.

 

(a)Hwy. 99 & Harrison Avenue Intersection Improvements

 

Bob stated that this is the CaPP Project that Cottage Grove has.We havenít made progress at the rate we had hoped to as we have run into a number of delays because of the necessary approvals.The street and traffic signal design are in ODOTís hands right now for approval.Bob gave an overview of the project which includes the realignment of 4th Street, signalization of the intersection and reconstruction of the railroad crossing (requires a 4 to 6 month review process by ODOTís rail section).He stated that we hope to start construction the summer of 2004.Bob stated that City staff will be providing a written update on the project to County staff which they have requested.He stated that because the project isnít progressing at the rate we had hoped, staff wants to post a notice at the intersection in terms of whatís coming there.By PowerPoint Bob projected the sign staff hopes to put up in the next few weeks listing what agencies will be contributing to this project and that construction will start in the summer of 2004.

 

Commissioner Morrison stated that if she isnít mistaken that is a CaPP project that the County had to give additional funding to, because the costs came in way over what was anticipated.And they have already given the City one time extension.

 

Bob Sisson stated that we havenít dealt with time extensions yet, but the City will be asking for one.

 

Commissioner Green asked what specifically the money from the state was going to fund.

 

Bob Sisson stated that it is kind of a token contribution and not earmarked to any specific contract item.He stated that itís obvious from the funding that this project couldnít happen without County dollars in it.

 

Councilor Haskell stated that he wanted to make sure everyone knows that Lane County isnít the reason for the delay, and we do appreciate the County stepping up with additional funding.

 

 

Councilor Miller reiterated that without Lane County we couldnít do this project, and we need to make sure the citizens know that.

 

(b)County/City Road Partnership

 

Bob Sisson stated that as with all other cities in Lane County, the County/City Partnership is extremely important to the City of Cottage Grove.Without it we would be in very significant financial problems associated with trying to operate our transportation system.He stated that the City received the invitation that came from Commissioner Sorenson for a meeting in November, and City staff looks forward to participating in that to share ideas in terms of transportation system funding.

 

Commissioner Morrison stated that in the letter the City received from Commissioner Sorenson there were some specific requests in regards to costs the City has, and she asked if Bob felt he would be able to provide all of that information by November 25th as far as City funding sources, what the total needs are and those kinds of things.

 

Bob responded that he has received a follow-up letter from Ollie Snowden, and staff can provide all of that information.In terms of the needs, our needs have been so great that in terms of trying to quantify them we may be somewhat vague because we have not been able to even come near meeting the needs in the transportation system.However, staff will have a good estimate put together.

 

Commissioner Sorenson explained that on November 25th the Board of Commissioners has invited the mayors of the twelve cities in Lane County, a councilor designated by the mayor, the city managers/administrators and the directors of public works to meet with them.He stated that the reason for calling this meeting is because of basically three big factors.One is the progress they have made in Lane County to properly lobby for, properly spend and properly worry about the federal legislation that grants to counties that have large federal forest land ownerships an additional amount of money above federal and state gas tax and weight mile taxes.That money is on a time line and is the same amount of money each year and then itís a cliff; they donít get the money. The County has been concerned and has had public works staff looking at a projection of how the County is going to spend that money.He stated that some of that $720,000 for Cottage Groveís 4th Street Intersection project is part of this money.It is very important to the community and it is very important how the County allocates that money within the County.

 

Commissioner Sorenson stated that the second factor that leads to this meeting besides the forest/county money, the fact that we have it now, the fact that we might not get it in the future when it expires, is the passage of state legislation that grants a gas tax to cities and counties.We know that in Lane County, the cities of Lane County are going to get a share of that money because the Legislature designated that you get it, but weíre contemplating the concept of sharing the county money with the cities.It is highly controversial and they just want to talk about it; there hasnít been any consensus on the board on whether to do that or how to do that.

 

Mr. Sorenson stated that the third factor that leads to this meeting is the existence of some local transportation tax or gas tax that have been enacted by cities within Lane County, including Cottage Grove and the repeal of some of those taxes that were enacted over the last year or so by Eugene and Springfield.So they are going to put all of this together and have a big briefing on it.He explained that Oliver Snowden, Lane County Public Works Director, is the single expert on all of this and he will be working on the eveningís agenda.

 

Bill Van Vactor, Lane County Administrator, corrected Commissioner Sorenson in that the Legislature didnít pass a gas tax, it was an increase to the vehicle registration fee.

 

Commissioner Green asked if there is a sunset to the Cityís gas tax ordinance and if there are any exemptions.

 

Richard responded that there wasnít and the exemptions are the same as those in state law.It is strictly a gas tax and doesnít include any kind of transportation utility fee.

 

Councilor Fleck stated that we have all the information from when the City passed its gas tax ordinance and thought maybe the Commissioners might what to see the PowerPoint presentation staff put together for that.It gives detailed pictures of some of our streets that really are in need of repair and pictures of streets throughout the City needing repair.He suggested maybe providing this information for the November 25th meeting.

 

Commissioner Sorenson stated that he and Commissioner Green both testified on the legislation that got the counties this money nationwide, and Commissioner Morrison has been on a county schools coalition organization that has been monitoring the expenditure of these funds.When he and Commissioner Green recently met with Senator Wydenís chief of staff, they were told that the County may not get this legislation renewed.And part of the reason they are going to have Mr. Snowden talk about their road fund which is infused with this federal money is they also want to inject some caution in the expenditure of these road fund dollars because of fear that they have in a planning scenario that they may not have this money renewed.They are getting about $20 million a year right now and will continue getting that until 2006, but after that they might not get that any more.

 

(c)Water System Master Plan

 

Bob Sisson stated that this is an informational item for the board because the item has the potential for impact of County residents.He explained that the City produces water from two water treatment plants.One of the plants is located about 20 miles east of Cottage Grove, and between that water treatment plant and the City we serve approximately 200 County residents.That water treatment plant has outlived its useful life, and the City is in the planning stages of what to do about the aged treatment plant.If the City decides to not re-construct that treatment plant there is the potential that about half of those out of City customers or about 110 of them the water source thatís currently serving them today would no longer be available to them.The City Council has been very concerned about this, and staff has done a lot of engineering planning work with a lot of study work, and weíre currently at the point where weíve done a feasibility study.This study hasnít yet been presented to the City Council, but will be within the next thirty days to try to determine what is a source of drinking water for those customers whether the City provides it or is there another potential source.Bob stated that the reason that weíre mentioning the issue is because again there are folks that are in limbo right now and are wondering about their water supply.The City is concerned about their water supply, and thatís why weíre seeking potentials in terms of ways that they can actually be served.That could be municipal ultimately or could be a community water system.Those decisions have not been made yet, but they are on the very near horizon.


(d)Municipal Utilities to Gettings Creek Rest Area

 

Bob Sisson explained that the Department of Transportation has been having some significant utility concerns with their Gettings Creek Rest Area.They have been closed from time to time and the reason that they are is because they have failing septic systems there.They have come to the City and asked if the City could potentially serve the rest area with municipal utilities.Staff is currently trying to work with the Department of Transportation to see if that is a possibility.At this point it appears that there is a very significant potential that we could do that, and weíre in the coordinating stages of trying to make that happen.There are a number of approvals that would be required before that could happen, because they are outside our urban growth area.However, they have a very significant need and we would like to see if we would be able to assist them in meeting that need.

 

Commissioner Morrison asked if Bob is saying that the City would have to actually expand the urban growth boundary.

 

Bob responded that we wouldnít expand the urban growth boundary, but we would take an exception to serve that particular customer outside the urban growth area.

 

Commissioner Green asked who would pay for that.

 

Bob stated that ODOT would turn out to be a paying customer of the municipal water system.He stated that we may not even be able to do this once we go through the Boundary Commission and through County Planning, ultimately it may not work.

 

Howard Schesser, Community Development Coordinator, explained that ultimately it would be asking the County to take exception to its comprehensive plan as well as the Cityís, because it would actually be on ODOT land from our city limits out.Preliminary discussion with land management and with Boundary Commission indicates that it may be possible to take exceptions to the state-wide goals.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA

 

(a)Peggi Rush, track liaison for Cottage Grove Speedway, 33330 Molitor Hill Road, Cottage Grove, read a letter (attached as Exhibit A) from Bill Kloos, attorney for the Speedway and addressed to the City Council giving an update regarding legal matters facing the Speedway.

 

(b)Arnie Gottlieb, 1721 N. Pacific Hwy., Cottage Grove, asked what the grounds were for labeling information, i.e., letters from the attorney (land use attorney hired by the City) confidential and not allowing the Planning Commission to have that information to enable them to do their work and make informed decisions.He asked what is the justification to withhold the information that is the content of those letters.He stated that his understanding is that pertinent information should be shared, and the process of information should be part of a public forum and not in a confidential format.

 

Richard responded that pursuant to state law any correspondence between the Cityís legal counsel and the City Council or City boards and commissions is confidential client privileged information.That is state law and typical legal client relationship.

 

(c)Kris Okray, 323 S. 22nd Street, Cottage Grove, stated that in response to Mr. Meyersí response, they are the clients as the City is the client.She stated that she would suspect that the reason why this particular piece of correspondence is being withheld is because there may be the threat of a law suit.She asked if that would be a correct assumption.

 

Richard responded that it is attorney/client privilege, and it isnít going to be disclosed.

 

Ms. Okray asked if there are groundless threats.She stated that she would think that the City would be required to make sure that there is 100% justification for not disclosing or having full disclosure of information because of the State Goal #1 for citizen participation.She stated that she was at the work session last week and the way it was displayed was that there was this letter that was submitted by an attorney and that it would not be disclosed at the Planning Commission, and it just seems that they, as the citizens of Cottage Grove, have a right to know what is going on.Also, what occurred was that they received a memo on September 7th from the Planning Department and it said that after reviewing comments from Bill Kloos and discussion with the City Attorney staff recommended some changes to the MUM zoning and the parks and recreation zone and this was done without it being discussed in the work session.The Planning Commissioners were just simply given the information and told that the changes were made.This made them suspect that there would be a reason why the City would just decide to make changes without going through a public process or at least through the planning process which then led them to believe that the City was being threatened with a law suit, and they donít think there is a basis for any reason the City could be threatened by a law suit, if that is the case.

 

Mayor Williams stated that he didnít think there would be a response to Ms. Okray at this point.

 

Councilor Fleck pointed out that under item 6 on the agenda, it says that ďno additional testimony or evidence will be received on appeals of Planning Commission decisionsĒ, and he thought this was a pertinent issue and maybe better set for an agenda item at a future meeting.

 

Commissioner Sorenson stated that he is very glad the Commissioners got to meet with the City Council, and stated that if they can be of any help to give them a call.

 

Mayor Williams thanked the Board of Commissioners for coming to Cottage Grove to meet with the City Council and inspect the jail.


ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business, Mayor Williams and Commissioner Chair Sorenson adjourned the joint meeting of the City Council and County Commissioners at 7:55 p.m.

 

 

 

 

_____________________________††††††___________________________

Joan Hoehn, City Recorder††††††††Gary Williams, Mayor