BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
October 1, 2003
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr. and Anna Morrison present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Sorenson announced there would be Emergency Business, a letter from city planning and development to Van Vactor on the matter of the Vertical Housing Zone at the City of Eugene. Dwyer added an item about the Board sponsoring a greenhouse for Food for Lane County under Commissioners Business.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Jenny Rotmans, 551 S.5th Street, Springfield, stated she is a project coordinator for Lane Independent Living Alliance. She said they are an organization run by and for people with disabilities in Lane County. She noted they address issues of transportation, education and access. She stated this year they chose voting access as their issues. She announced on Friday LILA held an access summit in Eugene to get funding to eliminate barriers for seniors and people with disabilities from exercising their right to vote.
B.J. Bird, shared a story about Julie Whittey and her issues with the 2002 election.
Gweneth Van Frank Carlson, 33030 Bloomberg Road, discussed the Help America Vote Act and the potential it holds for people with disabilities across the Country. She said with the help of ADA, the Rehab Act and special education and other civil rights protections, more people participate in the full civil lives of communities. She stated barriers still remain in housing, employment, transportation and voting.
Rotmans said of the visually impaired and blind population in the State of Oregon, 59 per cent do not vote in presidential election years and 70 per cent do not vote in non-presidential years. She said they secured an agreement to help them fund a phone vote test that would allow people to pick up a phone to vote. She said elections needed extensive ongoing training in working with people with disabilities and a new location that is accessible for people with physical disabilities. She said people with disabilities comprise nearly 30 per cent of the population of the state of Oregon and 33 per cent of the population of Lane County.
Terry Connelly, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, 1401 Willamette, stated there has been an option considered throughout several cities of Lane County regarding the transportation system maintenance fee. He said they were pleased by the Eugene City Council’s action to voluntarily repeal their transportation system maintenance fee so they could identify a more equitable and cost effective solution to funding street maintenance. He thought there would be an important role for Lane County to play in finding any solution to street maintenance funding for all cities in Lane County.
Tom Lininger, 1221 University of Oregon, Eugene, said it was important to fill the East Lane Commissioner seat as soon as possible. He said they are now re-working the Rural Comprehensive Plan that is the blueprint for land use decisions in the rural areas for years to come. He added the only area where it is completed in the East Lane District is in the McKenzie Valley. He said that the East Lane District is about 50 per cent of the landmass of Lane County. He noted there was also the Bradford Quarry in Creswell, two proposed urban growth boundary expansions in Coburg, and the urban growth expansion in Creswell. He noted another area of involvement where the commissioner is needed is with the budget process. He apologized because it was his fault that the Board has this burden.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
Van Vactor reported the City of Eugene had indicated that they passed a resolution supporting a tax exemption for vertical housing in the downtown development zone. He said the policy decision before the Finance and Audit Committee was a tax exemption. He noted that Lane County government and other governments would not receive tax revenue attributable to the real property development. He explained that the Board contributes funding every two years to an allocation of funds for roads to reduce the cost of low income and affordable housing. He said although Finance & Audit appreciated the goal of the City of Eugene, in view of Lane County’s financial position, facing a multi-million dollar deficit, they didn’t feel they could support the proposal at this time and directed preparation of a notice to the City of Eugene that Lane County would be opting out.
Wilson noted she started to prepare the notice and looked at the statute for requirements of opting out. She learned that the statutes only give the right to opt out to special districts that are described in ORS 198.010 or ORS 198.180. She said that ranges through solid water conservation districts, rural fire protection districts and a number of small special districts. She added it did not apply to Lane County. She said for that reason, at this point under the statutes, the Board didn’t have the right to opt out. She added if the Oregon Community and Economic Development Commission approves the City of Eugene’s application and if a vertical housing project does get developed, the property tax exemption would apply and would include whatever Lane County taxes would otherwise be levied
Dwyer explained there were other legal theories under Ballot Measure 30: unfunded mandates if they didn’t have the opportunity to opt out. He said at Finance and Audit they decided that, due to Lane County’s financial condition and the bond rating, (while they are worthy projects) if the City wants to institute the project, it was fine with them, but Lane County needs its revenue base because of the precarious situation. He didn’t want to participate. He said instead of using the phrase opt out, he wanted to state the Board didn’t want to participate.
MOTION: to send a letter to the City of Eugene stating that Lane County had decided not to participate, however in any future endeavors they would appreciate it if the City of Eugene would contact Lane County at the initiation of any such program so Lane County could give input.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Jim Gangle, Assessor, explained that Measure 47/50 moved Lane County away from a levied driven system to a value rate driven system. He noted that now whenever an exemption is granted, it would mean a loss of revenue to those districts in which that property is located. He stated this exemption would exempt part of the property. He said the County’s piece is small. He explained for a $5 million project, the tax the County would receive would be about $5,100. He noted at a 20 per cent exemption, there is not a big impact on the County. He added the City has a higher rate with their local option levies and they would receive more money and the exemption would have a bigger impact for them. He said there is an impact to Lane County and the more exemptions the County grants the less revenue they would receive as a district. He noted it is a worthy project but it would have an impact on Lane County’s revenue source. He stated he voted to opt out at the Finance and Audit meeting.
Richie Weinman, City of Eugene, stated he reviewed the Oregon Revised Statutes and he saw the taxing districts. He didn’t realize Lane County was not on the list. He noted it is a program that is operated by the state. He said the City of Eugene applies for it, the state operates it and the state decides who gets the exemption. He said if Lane County wanted to try to send a letter to opt out, he would forward it to the state. He explained it is a ten-year tax exemption. He said the concept around it is that the building most likely would not have been built at all but it gets exempted as an incentive to get it built and then there would be more revenue back than on a vacant piece of land. He said they were looking for other tools that would help encourage compact urban growth in the core area. He thought it was a good program to encourage development.
Sorenson asked if there was any controversy from the Eugene City Council on July 28 when they approved the resolution.
Weinman responded it passed 7-1. He noted Betty Taylor was opposed to all tax exemptions.
Green supported the motion, indicating they support the council’s goal of development of vertical housing. He added while they were supportive of that, that due to their financial situation, they chose not to participate. He thought the Board would be more supportive of using road funds for this type of project.
Sorenson requested that Van Vactor send a letter to the staff at the City of Eugene about Dwyer’s motion and Green’s comments so they could review the letter.
Dwyer commented he wanted the letter sent in a timely fashion. He questioned the City of Eugene’s ability under law to say that Lane County can’t opt out. He said for a state program to give Lane County an unfunded mandate violates Ballot Measure 30. He said it becomes a legal technical issue.
Morrison was in support of Dwyer’s letter
Weinman stated he would pass on Lane County’s letter to the state as soon as he receives it. He added that there are currently no projects that are available and he didn’t expect too many in the future. He said they were creating tools that might work for something in the future.
Sorenson stated he wanted to see the letter before it goes out. He didn’t agree with the letter. He thought they should go ahead with this.
MOTION: to move that they have counsel draft a letter indicating to the City of Eugene that Lane County thanked them for the offer to participate. Lane County thinks it is a worthy project, but financial resources compel Lane County to decline participation at this time and in the future they would like to work with the City of Eugene in the beginning of these types of developments.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
VOTE: 3-1 (Sorenson dissenting.)
MOTION: to approve the final letter for the County Administrator to send back to the City of Eugene. He added they would add the date to the letter of August 21.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONED.
Sorenson was opposed to this motion.
VOTE: 3-1 (Sorenson dissenting.)
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Dwyer commented there is a difference between a conscious choice not to participate and apathy. He said as a government they need to make the election for the president a national holiday. He said people would only get paid if they vote. He said it would encourage a participatory democracy and give someone a reason to go to the polls.
Sorenson indicated he was going to be involved with a new campaign “Think before you Ink.” He said it is to encourage the public to think about the specific effort to try to overturn the state budget package. He noted that over $500 million in cuts would be made if the measure is put on the ballot and approved by the voters. He added that people should think before they ink because maybe they will sink. He said Oregon would have many problems if this measure were overturned. He believed it was in the public interest for them to speak out on the importance of public safety, education and services that would be hurt by overturning this measure.
a. ORDER 03-10-1-1/In the Matter of Declaring October 10 as Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-10-1-1
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
b. ORDER 03-10-1-2/In the Matter of Proclaiming October 2003 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-10-1-2.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
6. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Youth Participation With the Board of County Commissioners.
Sorenson recalled that Morrison wanted a discussion at the Board level about the youth perspective on advisory groups.
Alicia Hays, Children and Families, stated that Morrison contacted her to work with her department on getting the youth perspective at the Board of County Commissioners’ level. She noted Morrison wanted to bring youth in, to speak and to get involved in the process. She said they were enthusiastic about it as they have youth members on the Commission on Children and Families.
Morrison questioned the way they recruited students to participate on the different boards. She said they needed to broaden the search. She wanted new participation and input to the Board around youth issues.
Dwyer suggested reaching out to each student body president at the high schools to let the student bodies know the Board is interested in issues that affect youth. He wanted the students to give the Board input on what issues they feel is important to them and how government could help them with the issues. He thought it was a good first step.
Morrison was concerned with urban compared to the rural. She noted they always see urban youth in front of the Board and they don’t often see rural children. She suggested also working with high school principals to get the buy in because they would be taking children out of class and in rural areas transportation is sometimes an issue. She only wanted this on a quarterly basis.
Green was supportive of the effort. He thought they should do whatever they could to encourage participation. He said they should work with Melinda Kletzok to send out press releases on this. He added they should contact the different school boards around the County that might have a youth that participates on a regular basis.
Sorenson thought a letter to the student leaders was a great idea. He was concerned because they were reaching the most over committed youth. He wanted to send letters to principals urging them to solicit this to students who are not members of the student council. He said they should invite these students to a board meeting for a listening session to challenge the students to do more than make suggestions. He wanted Children and Families to write up a letter that is reviewed by the Board and given to the student leaders and principals specifically inviting non-student leaders.
b. DISCUSSION/Joint BCC-Commission on Children and Families Meeting.
Hays recalled the last time Children and Families met with the Board of Commissioners was December of last year. She wanted the opportunity to do the same this year to share with the Board where they should be putting their energy and strategies for issues facing children, youth and families.
Sorenson suggested the meeting be held on January 21, 2004.
c. DISCUSSION/Homeland Security.
Randy Franke, Former Marion County Commissioner, explained he was trying to get feedback for the Governor’s Homeland Security Council in terms of the state’s proposed regional approach to homeland security. He discussed his handout on homeland security. (Copy in file.)
Sorenson commented that on the federal level, they rely upon the local officials. He said when people are in an emergency, they call their local fire department or police department. He thought the General of the Oregon National Guard should be on the Governor’s Homeland Security Council. He added the Superintendent of Public State Police should also be added. He noted a fire chief, police chief and sheriff should also be on the council. He suggested the group consider non-profit or volunteer groups including the Oregon Defense Force and the Boy and Girl Scouts.
Jan Clements, Sheriff, noted that Lane County didn’t have anyone on their task force group from business and industry or agricultural. He said they have a number of other representatives including private non-profits through the Red Cross.
With regard to homeland security, Dwyer commented that if the governor could give Lane County anything it would be the way to communicate with one another in terms of the communication network that they had identified as important in their plan. He noted Lane County’s communication system is such that the sheriff can’t even communicate with his own officers in certain areas of the County because of the way radios transmit. He stated this was a regional priority.
Morrison said there are different regions in the state and none are the same. She thought they should be consistent. She didn’t want another level of bureaucracy with the council that she doesn’t think is necessary. She didn’t want to have to re-invent the wheel again. With regard to mobilization, she said the Forest Service knows how to set things up and should be put on the list. She added the Coast Guard should also be added.
Green hoped there was real security around homeland security and what they were trying to accomplish. He said they have had a number of sessions around emergency preparedness. He had concerns about representation and how it plays out.
Clements noted there is little information getting back to the sheriff’s office about the activities of the council. He said the idea of a regional approach pre-dated any input from the counties. He was scared of the layer of bureaucracy and process that would further impede their ability to get and process information. He added if in fact the state decides to go with a regional model, then his request is that it be at the lowest level in terms of its authority, that it become a conduit for information. He said if it takes a higher approach, it would ruin the ideas of counties managing their functions. He said Lane County is almost its own region. He said the sheriff automatically backs up other law enforcement as needed with state, local and municipal and that had always been the practice. He said if they need to operate on a regional basis, they already reach out to fellow counties. He was concerned about federal imperatives.
Clements commented they couldn’t have interoperability until they have operability and that is what Lane County does not have. He said until they get there, they would be impeded. He stated they do the best they possibly can and Lane County has an initiative to establish a radio microwave network
Linda Cook, Sheriff’s Office, noted a new cultural shift was making sure that police and fire also consider calling in public health as well as hospitals. She commented that coordination at the local level has a lot of work ahead of them. She echoed the concerns about more bureaucracy and where the funding for the personnel resource would come from. She wanted Lane County to do its job locally and down the road they could discuss adding on another layer.
Dwyer stated if it is not broken it shouldn’t be fixed. He added that local people best make decisions relating to local events. He said they need to establish exceptions and define what those exceptions will be as it relates to national disasters that span large areas. He was concerned that this effort might be a way for the state to establish a structure where it becomes a conduit for federal money.
Franke said he would include the Sheriff’s comments as well as the Board’s comments to be forwarded to the Security Council.
d. Food for Lane County Greenhouse Project
Sorenson noted that County Administration worked for the Food For Lane County gardens and learned that the greenhouses where they grow food are up for adoption.
Dwyer explained this is an opportunity for the Board to help the people year round by sponsoring a greenhouse for $1,000 per year. He thought it would be a great Board project and the money would come out of the Board contingency.
MOTION: to ask the Board to approve authorizing the expenditures up to $1,000 in the coming fiscal year to sponsor a tunnel (greenhouse) and should do it on an annual basis. He added it needed to be put in as part of the budget.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Van Vactor reported that Garnick would draft a board order and bring it back on the Consent Calendar.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor announced the PSCC would be having a meeting as the new Public Safety Coordinating Counsel, on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the Juvenile Justice Center.
Dave Garnick, Senior Budget Analyst, reported they were able to have Moody’s review Lane County’s finances and the business climate. He noted in that process, they did not downgrade Lane County but they gave Lane County a negative outlook. He stated they were able to have a bond sale and received good interest rates. He commented Lane County was given the negative outlook because from 1997 to 2000, they had an ending fund cash balance of 14 to 15 per cent, due to the fact when Measure 47/50 was approved, they were able to roll both the serial levies into the general fund, creating the permanent rate. He said things looked healthy. But he noted since that time, they had been spending down the cash to where last year they only had seven percent for any fund cash balance. He said in review, they think that Lane County got itself into a weakened position and Moody’s comment was that they didn’t believe within the next 12 to 18 months Lane County wouldn’t be able to affect that. He said as a result they were given a cautionary note. He added if the governing body doesn’t have the resolve to make change to try to rebuild the reserves within a certain period of time, the next time they would go out for a rating, they would be downgraded at that time. He noted getting a downgrade in rating results in higher interest rates.
Dwyer directed Management Services to come back with a plan that would allow them to build the reserves to a point where they would take away notice. He thought the prudent plan would be to build up the reserve. He said they couldn’t continue to spend the lapse.
Sorenson suggested revisiting the idea of what percentage of the lapse they have to drive up.
Garnick reported the rates that they were able to refinance the bond issue were 3.38 for the refunding of the general obligation and 2.93 on the Courthouse Plaza and the election building. He noted he would be bringing options to the next Leadership Team Meeting.
b. ORDER 03-10-1-3/In the Matter of Approving Rural Tourism Marketing Plan Program Management Procedures, Annual Distribution Process, and Reporting and Accounting Methods.
Peter Thurston, Economic Development, explained this matter was about simplifying and streamlining the rural tourism marketing program for distribution of the room tax dollars that go to the rural communities. He noted the program’s purpose is to return room tax dollars to communities around the county for improvements in services that encourage tourism and visitation. He added Anna Morrison and Tom Lininger reviewed this with County Counsel and staff and these are the recommendations of the process.
Thurston said Attachment A (copy in file) discusses the way the program would be streamlined. He added Attachment B is a condensed version of the criteria that had been used for the rural tourism marketing program. He said that Attachment C is the revised proposal and report form all on one page. He said instead of an RFP, it simplifies it to asking the cities to present a list of their activities, report on it annually and propose the next one all at one time. He said Attachment B gives the distribution of dollars that is allocated by formula. He said if the simplified approach meets with the Board’s approval, they would begin with the dollars allocated for distribution this year, and get it back to the Board for approval of contracts. He noted the alternative to this proposal is to revise Lane Code and do something simpler
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-10-1-3.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
8. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Assessment and Taxation
1) ORDER 03-10-1-4/In the Matter of a Refund to Eugene Hotel Associates, Inc. in the Amount of $13,215.03.
2) ORDER 03-10-1-5/In the Matter of a Refund to Ariki-Oregon Ltd. in the Amount of $43,431.13.
3) ORDER 03-10-1-6/In the Matter of a Refund to Eugene Tower Associates in the Amount of $103,285.37.
B. Children and Families
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 03-10-1-7/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrative Officer to Execute Amendment #1 to Oregon Commission on Children and Families 2003-2005 County Intergovernmental Agreement in the Amount of $4,617,806.
C. Health and Human Services
1) ORDER 03-10-1-8/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign Intergovernmental Agreement No. 105664 with the State of Oregon in the Amount of $2,900,000.
2) ORDER 03-10-1-9/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign a Contract Amendment with SAFE, Inc., in the Amount of $120,000 for the Period October 1, 2003 Through September 30, 2004.
3) ORDER 03-10-1-10/In the Matter of Appointing Designees of the Community Mental Health Director to Direct a Peace Officer to Take a Mentally Ill Individual into Custody According to ORS 426.233.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Morrison MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
9. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
a. ORDER 03-10-1-11/In the Matter of Adjusting the Department of Health and Human Services Budget (Human Services Commission Fund 285) to Accept Additional Revenues in the Amount of $566,687 for the Community Health Centers and, of This, to Appropriate $456,750 to Increase FTE by 3.0 by Establishing a 1.0 FTE Clinical Health Services Coordinator; a 1.0 FTE Community Health Centers Medical Officer; and a 1.0 FTE Clinical Fiscal Supervisor.
Steve Manela, Human Services Commission, reported last week the Board heard from the partners on the Community Health Center project. He said in order for the Community Health Center to be successful, it has to be a community health center with organizations like Peace Health, McKenzie Willamette, LIPA, Oregon Medical Group and others needing to be stakeholders in the project. He said it was an opportunity to bring uninsured and underinsured residents of the County health care. He commented that they have a fantastic opportunity because with the designation as a community health center, they are able to open a clinic that serves County residents. He added it is a designation that will allow them to do other things in the future. He said they will be able to serve rural residents, school based health clinics, and migrant health care in the future.
Manela noted the federal government has given Lane County the opportunity for the clinic and that opportunity hadn’t been made available to all communities that applied. He said unlike other grants, the notice of grant award from the federal government says that Lane County has to take responsibility and put things in place in order to carry out the agreement. He asked for the ability to recruit some of the key members of the team for the community health center. He noted the recruitment of the positions would not be easy.
Manela prepared a pie chart (copy in file.) that shows where the revenues are coming from the balance of the project. He noted one of the benefits of the community health center is that it gets perspective rate reimbursement from the feds, meaning it gets full cost reimbursement for Medicaid and Medicare patients.
Dwyer stated this was a vision that he has had for a number of years.
MOTION: to move to approve ORDER 03-10-1-11.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Manela explained when a county becomes a FQHC, the federal government has technical assistance organizations they contract with. He said their purpose is to help the clinic be successful. He stated Lane County would have to employ an architect to do a walk through of any facility (other than the HACSA Heron Center) to do a due diligence to see if the facility is sound so they get a baseline assessment of the facilities.
Green asked what the worst-case scenario would be in terms of funding.
Manela responded that with the grant award they have from the Bureau of Primary Health care, what they do is if a health center fails, the feds will come in and operate it until they find another organization to take it over.
Van Vactor noted one of the possible facilities they would be using is the Heeran Center. His suggestion was the facility committee get a report from Rob Rockstroh and Chris Todis so they are coordinating whatever the ultimate plans are.
Rockstroh explained the Heeran Center was not a long term solution for an FQHC, he said they have to go to Springfield as that was the census track they were obligated to go to. He said when they originally purchased the Heeran Center, HACSA used their bonding authority. He noted that Mental Health got out of paying for half of their building. He said their intention was never to hold on to it forever. He didn’t think they should give it up because it is a good facility.
Manela stated the City of Eugene Community Development Block Grant Committee and the Eugene City Council said if they go to Heeran, there is $170,000 in block grant dollars that would be available for a remodel at Heeran. He added the City of Springfield has dollars available if they go to Springfield that they would commit. He said they are waiting to hear on the outcome of the federal congressional appropriation bill. He said they want to be in a facility where they have an ability to either purchase or have dollars where they are not having to take all of the lease costs instead of providing patient care. He noted they are able to use up to $150,000 the first year for equipment and capital. He said they could use a portion of the federal grant for capital improvements.
10. MANAGEMENT SERVICES
a. ORDER 03-10-1-12/In the Matter of Creating Classifications and Salary Ranges for Community Health Center Medical Officer, Clinical Health Services Coordinator, Clinical Fiscal Services Supervisor in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Jan Wilbur, Management Services, stated these are three new classifications for the Community Health Center. She said they would be able to recruit other positions for the Community Health Center. She requested the Board approve the positions.
MOTION: to move to approve ORDER 03-10-1-12.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
b. DISCUSSION/Capital Improvement Project Financing.
David Suchart, Management Services, explained with the way Fund 435 is set up, they do some projects that are adopted in the CIP; some that are financed and some that are in the reserve. With regard to the Family Law unit, he said they were located in the Centennial Bank Building with a lease. He said Umpqua bank wanted them out as soon as possible because of their consolidation. He said the Mental Health facility had vacant space and the Facilities Committee asked him to try to fill as much space as possible in the Mental Health building. He said the Family Law unit was willing to do this and it was good for the District Attorney and for Health and Human Services. He added there were costs for doing that. He noted that with the cost for the project, the District Attorney does not have a capital fund and he thought it was appropriate to use the Capital Improvement Fund to finance the project and to have Doug Harcleroad pay him back in subsequent years
With regard to the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center, Suchart stated it was also a project that was not put into the CIP, but it is a large project. He said the reason for doing the project is that it is concurrent with the AIRS upgrade. He said the project was important for the Sheriff to go ahead with. He noted the Sheriff did not have the capital in his budget to go forward with the whole process. He proposed a loan. He said it would be from the Title III share, using $166,000 of last year’s lapse. He noted that currently the loan from the CIP fund would be $423,000 if that were to occur. He said the loan would be approximately $307,000 instead of $423,000.
John Arnold, Title III Analyst, explained if the total AIRS project cost were reduced, it would affect the amount of Title III that is eligible to fund the project.
Suchart recommended that they go ahead with both loans. He said they are not actual loans in the legal sense, as he is not moving money from one fund to the other. He said he is fronting the District Attorney’s office and the Sheriff’s Office and both departments would pay him back, within their budgets.
Van Vactor said he was concerned with the last paragraph in Arnold’s memo about the potential deficit of $1,577,000 they have building in Title III. He said a question for the Sheriff’s Office is how they plan on tackling this issue.
Arnold stated prior to the County receiving Title III funds, and the enhanced services provided by the Sheriff’s Department, they used additional dispatch services. He said they were able to go back to see how many FTE were increased in the Sheriff’s Department and build a formula to determine how much would be eligible for the dispatch center costs. He added he thinks it is an indirect cost versus a stand-alone project. He noted that in the future they would have to reduce expenses or increase Title III revenues.
Garnick said there is the issue with Lane County’s negative outlook. He added the cash is currently being spent down and the beginning cash balance comes from the reserves and the departmental lapse. He noted by spending this much more, it reduces the cash they have.
c. ORDER 03-10-1-13/In the Matter of BID LCP 2003-06 for a Construction Contract for Lane County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Remodel in the Amount of $216,800.
Suchart explained they went out to bid on the project and the low bidder on the project was McKenzie Commercial at $216,800. He said it was below their estimates and he recommended going ahead and signing the contract.
Russ Burger, Sheriff’s Office, stated the Sheriff’s Department had operated with an inadequate dispatch center for many years. He said they wanted to correct the problem. He noted what was driving the request this year is the AIRS conversion will require a remodel of the existing space. He thought it was an opportune time to remodel the space. He suggested Title III monies to offset the short lapse from the other departments.
Rick Schulz, Sheriff’s Office, noted the $166,000 was a request prior to the end of the year. He said they wanted to transfer funds from their budget from last year to spend some fiscal year 02/03 dollars because they knew they were facing these costs.
Van Vactor asked if there was any way this project could be scaled down.
Burger responded the RFP went out and the plan for the project was at the minimal desired level. He said there was potential savings in that the expense might not be as high. He noted it was not an extravagant proposal; it was something to fit their basic needs.
Suchart commented if the total loan comes from the CIP fund, it puts other future projects in jeopardy until that loan can be paid off. He stated if it were an important policy for the Board, he would make it work within the CIP fund.
Berger stated they could take an aggressive approach to paying this back as quickly as possible to mitigate some of the future projects.
Sorenson was in favor of looking for alternatives.
Dwyer asked if they had to approve this today.
Suchart responded he was under a short time span. He stated McKenzie Commercial told him they could get the job done in 100 days. He said if they had to go back to McKenzie Commercial to change anything, they would be impacting the Cities of Eugene, Springfield and other people. He said they have an interagency agreement as to when they are going to be ready and he was already over the deadline.
Dwyer wanted this matter to go to Finance and Audit so they could see the available options. He also wanted to know about the other projects they could defer to allow this to happen within the current framework.
Suchart suggested accepting the contract on the construction part. He added they could also discuss some of the other financing pieces and use the CIP fund to reduce the amount they have to take out of the capital improvement fund, if the Board wanted to go ahead and accept the contract.
Berger recalled another issue they were facing with time is that they applied for and received a grant for security doors in the facility and that would be tied in with this project.
Clements suggested changing the election of the Title III funding to use for the emergency communications dispatch center.
Dwyer commented that in terms of the timeliness of the project, he thought the project was worthwhile. He didn’t want to set a precedent by using the lapse because of the financial shape that Lane County is in.
Van Vactor noted that Arnold calculated the maximum that could be used for Title III and there can’t be any more money put toward this project.
MOTION: to move to have David Suchart work with John Arnold to develop a strategy or a way to finance this project without utilizing the concept of the lapse and try to minimize the impact on the out years for 03/ 04 on the Title III deficit.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Van Vactor reiterated that the Board wanted the maximum that could be used in Title III, not using the lapse and extends the gap, and taking it all out of Suchart’s CIP fund. He added the projected future projects would be put on hold.
Morrison explained they could take the Title III money and put it towards the Sheriff’s project and not use it under conservation easements. She added they would still have the $1.3 million deficit into 06/07. She asked if they go into the CIP money, how they would repay the CIP.
Suchart stated he would be able to go through with the projects the Board previously approved. He noted the projects on hold were they ones they would be adopting in 04/05. He noted that no project that the Board had voted on currently is in jeopardy.
Sorenson didn’t think it would work. He said if the decision is taking the money from parks, then they should make it for open spaces. He was concerned if they used these funds for those kinds of projects, about whether or not they are meeting the statutory purpose of the legislation.
Schulz explained this would be paid for out of a capital improvement fund. He said there is an agreement to repay the money from the Sheriff’s Office in an undefined manner, with no definition around how long it could take. He said this was not like other interfund loans where they have to be paid back the subsequent year. He said if they were to borrow money from another fund for a capital project, he believed they had five years to pay it back. He added they wouldn’t be impacting the capital improvement fund and they would be paying the going rate of interest.
Van Vactor said it could relate to a significant service reduction.
Clements was hopeful the Board would proceed with this. He said the Sheriff’s Office would be ultimately responsible. He added they don’t have a choice to stay in their existing dispatch operation; the AIRS conversion will not work with the configuration of antiquated equipment.
Dwyer recommended that they get the interloan fund with the notion that they have to reserve the lapse. He said it has to come out of other types of decisions. He was willing to let the Sheriff decide on what he needs more. He said the lapse was off of the table because of the integrity of the bond rating and they have to figure out how to build the reserves instead of reducing them.
Green asked if the Sheriff would take a service reduction to cover this.
Clements responded he was not willing to do that. He said it was a project that should be amortized over five years. He said it was responsible business and investment practices. He thought they would still endure budget cuts.
Dwyer thought five years was appropriate. He thought it could show up as part of the Sheriff’s Budget.
Clements said he would prepare a board order for this matter.
MOTION: to allow an interfund fund to finance the project to allow John Arnold to maximize Title III funds, including the Toftemark property. He noted the fund would be repaid over five years, and having the Sheriff budget the repayment as part of his budget process and the adjustments would need to be made internally.
Sorenson ruled the first motion to be withdrawn.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Van Vactor stated when the order returns, he wanted the discretion to examine other funds that could be better utilized than the capital improvement funds.
Dwyer agreed. He noted there is $229,000, with an extra $190,000 from the Toftemark property. He added it wouldn’t increase the out years. He said they were not changing the formula.
Green suggested that in the future these items be taken to Finance and Audit first to get these types of questions answered.
Sorenson was not comfortable going forward on this.
VOTE: 3-1 (Sorenson dissenting,)
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-10-1-13.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
11. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Sorenson announced that there would be a special meeting for the swearing in of Don Hampton on October 14 at 1:30 p.m. in Harris Hall. He noted that the Lane County Domestic Violence Council’s meeting would take place later and he will be presenting a resolution from the Board.
Morrison announced that on Monday there would be a District 5 meeting in Albany with a large contingency of legislators participating. She said her trip to Washington, D.C. was productive.
Green said he and Lisa Smith attended the Oregon Juvenile Directors Department Association meeting in Eugene.
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.