LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE

April 20, 2004

6:15 p.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 4/27/04

 

Past Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett, Bobby Green, Sr.,

 

Don Hampton, Mary Ann Holser, Kathy Keable, Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present.County Administrator Bill Van Vactor and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

Bill Dwyer and Francisca Johnson were excused.

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

 

Past Chair David Crowell called the meeting to order.

 

II. ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR

 

Green MOVED to re-appoint David Crowell as Chair.

 

Bartlett SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Bartlett MOVED to re-appoint Mary Ann Holser as Vice-Chair.

 

Sorenson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

III. BUDGET MESSAGE

 

Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, give his budget message. (Copy in file).

 

IV. FINANCIAL OVERVIEW

 

Dave Garnick, Senior Budget Analyst gave a financial overview for Lane County.(Copy in file).

 

V. TAX REVENUE REVIEW

 

Jim Gangle, Assessor, explained that property taxes are 50% of the discretionary general fund.He noted that Lane County not only collects money for Lane County but for 80 other taxing districts.He indicated for the year 2003, they collected $300 million for all of the districts in Lane County.He noted while voters had approved Measures 47/50, they had also passed five new levies in Lane County for $14.5 million.He added there had been eight new bond measures passed for a total of $170 million.He stated the total amount to be collected has grown from $212 million in 1997 to $300 million for 2003.

 

Gangle said that Lane County keeps 9.2 cents from every dollar.He added Lane County is a service provider where the bulk of the money is turned over to about 80 other taxing districts.He noted that assessed revenue drives the revenue that Lane County is going to receive.He recalled that in the past the property taxes were based on a levy amount, but Measure 50 shifted that into the assessed value.He added that an increase in value would mean an increase in revenue to the districts.He explained there is a three percent growth that is allowed in assessed value.He said for the 2004 year there are no significant changes that would affect the amount of taxes that Lane County would collect.

 

With regard to market value changes, Gangle explained it increased about five percent.He stated that appeals would reduce the amount of property tax.He noted that this year at the Board of Property Tax Appeals, the value is reduced on properties that were appealed by six percent.He added that urban renewal would reduce the amount of taxes they would be able to collect.

 

Gangle said this past year they added $731,000,000 because of property changes.He said it represented new construction that was added to the rolls, subdivisions, and changes in exempt status and manufactured structures that are moved.He said they had increased the value in the County of $4.5 billion since 1997.He indicated the three percent maximum assessed value represented a change of about $510 million for 2003.

 

Gangle reported that an increase in the urban renewal would mean a decrease in the change that the County will collect.He noted that urban renewal increased by about $9 million from 2000 to 2003, money that the County will forego that goes to fund urban renewal projects within Lane County.

 

Gangle projected Lane County to be at about $24.6 million for next year.He said the actual amount they receive from property taxes would not be determined until September when they calculate all the values on 172,000 accounts.He said the challenge for the budget staff is to put together the information with all the variables.

 

VI. LOCAL WORKFORCE CHANGES

 

Chuck Forster, Director, Lane Workforce Partnership, reported in comparison from February 2004 to February 2003, that employment is up 900 people from 2003.He said that unemployment is down.He noted that Oregonís overall unemployment rate is the lowest it has been for the past 29 months.He added that food stamp usage has gone up and it is an indication of a strong push by the Department of Human Services to make sure that everyone who can possibly get food stamps is getting them.He commented that unemployment insurance disbursements are an important economic stabilizer that comes into the community through unemployment insurance.He added it serves to not only stabilize households but to stabilize communities.

 

Forster explained the Workforce Partnership provides a lot of assistance to individuals and companies facing layoffs and closures.He said in looking back over three years, from July 2001 to 2002, they worked with over 30 employers representing 2,500 laid off workers.He said the next year it dropped off to 22 employers and 1,800 workers and today they are down to seven employers and 393 laid off workers.

 

Forster reported the top ten employers are in either government or education.He commented that there is a need to enhance the recruitment of businesses with higher wages and to assist those businesses that currently pay higher wages to expand in the community.He noted there is an expectation they will see growth of 17,000 jobs between 2002 and 2112, or a 12% growth rate.He stated that the health care field is a major growth field where major occupations will continue to grow.

 

VII. REVIEW OF BUDGET PROCESS AND THE SCHEDULE

 

Tanya Heaton, Senior Management Analyst, reviewed the budget process and the schedule. She indicated there would be some Budget Committee meetings with public comment.She added the public comment would be scheduled at the end of the meetings so the public could hear the conversations on the topics.She noted there would be five work sessions where the departments will present their budgets and they do not contain public comment.She stated that prior to the work sessions there would be a technical meeting where technical questions can be asked of departments.She explained at the end of each presentation, the committee will be asked to give a tentative approval of the budget.She stated that final approval is set for Thursday, May 20, 2004.

 

Crowell indicated that written testimony was always an option anytime through the process.He said that Garnick suggested a deadline of May 12, 2004 at 5:00 p.m. for written testimony.

 

VIII. PUBLIC HEARING ON THE FY 2004-05 PROPOSED BUDGET

 

Chair Crowell opened up the Public Hearing.

 

Steve Carmichael, stated he used to run the Department of Youth Services.He commented that Pathways was a critical program.He said it is a local program that deals with the most difficult kids to get them out of drugs.He said the program would take any kid that was given to them.He said they expected after a year of being out of the program that they would have an 80% reduction in felony crimes.He noted that had been achieved every year and last year it was at a 96% reduction.He added that one juvenile had re-offended.He noted they went four years before they had any juveniles re-offend.He thought the Board could make a difference by retaining this program.He urged the Board to resume the funding to Pathways.

 

Kip Leonard, Circuit Judge, stated he had been working for the past ten years in Juvenile Court dealing with offenders.He said the Department of Youth Services was wonderful and the services that are public and private through the juvenile department are made available by the County.†† He said the Department of Youth Services has become thrifty with the money it spends.He noted in an attempt to do that, the department has targeted its services and resources that are available to the kids who are at the highest risk.He said a small percentage of juvenile offenders commit most of the juvenile crime.He added with those offenders, the rate of drug and alcohol abuse is between 70% and 80%.He noted one of the cornerstones in dealing with drug and alcohol offenders is having appropriate and adequate services and treatment programs.He said those services have to be able to service a wide array of issues and problems that youth have.He said they are able to treat many of the youthful offenders in the community but there is a significant portion of the population that cannot respond to treatment within the community.He said they need residential treatment.He commented that Pathways has proved to be one of the most successful treatment programs in the country.He said there is always a family component with this and that makes it more successful than other programs.He encouraged the Board to not only fund the program but to make it a priority.He commented that losing half of the beds has greatly reduced the ability of the department to respond to offenders with drug and alcohol issues.He said they wanted to expand the program to include a residential program for girls.He noted they are now down to seven beds and if they lose them, it would have a significant impact on the ability to deal with some of the most needy people in the community.

 

Andrea Wiggins, Development Director, College of Education, University of Oregon, stated she is a member of the Pathways Advisory Board.She explained that Pathways provides the service, support and opportunity to turn around children before their lives are lost in the judicial system.She stated that she was the parent of such a child who is no longer living.She noted there are few services to help kids with drug problems.She said that Pathways was the only hope that they have to offer in the community.She urged the Board not to cut Pathways.She said they are constantly being cut. She said if the Board cuts the program, they would lose the capacity to help service kids and the services that Pathways provides will be gone.†† She urged the Board to expand the program.

 

Terry Fraser, 2094 Firth, Springfield, said she is a counselor at the Department of Youth Services.††† She said her present position is as a lead probation counselor for the drug court.††† She stated the Pathways program is an integral part of what they do.She said the only problem she has with Pathways is that they never received the money for girls.†† She said the boys she works with are heavily addicted or heavily abusing.She said with the reduction of eight beds, they have to go through an internal process and they get the hardest kids.She said they have a masterful staff that works individually with the youth in developing plans.She asked the Board to keep the program intact.

 

Jim Forbes, 3800 Vince Maple Drive, Eugene, Executive Director, Looking Glass, passed out information on Pathways. (Copy in file).†† He said the Pathways program has proven to be effective with people who had been responsible for a disproportionate share of crimes.He said of the eight clients they currently have, (ranging in age from 13 to 17) two are Latino with extensive prior arrests.He noted they have five youth from Eugene, two from Florence and one from Creswell.He indicated of the six who graduated last quarter, three were from Florence, one from Cottage Grove, one from Oakridge and one from Veneta.He said that 50% of the kids they serve have been involved with methanphetamine abuse.He added that 75% of the kids have mental health issues and 25% of their current clients are parents.He noted the program is highly leveraged, for every dollar of County funds, they get another dollar in federal behavioral rehabilitation funding, school district funding and private donations.He recalled the program was cut last year and this year it is scheduled to be closed.He noted once they close it, it is hard to re-open. He said it was critical to keep it open.

 

John Aarons, 327 Lone Oak, Eugene, stated he is a probation counselor at the Department of Youth Services.He supported all the comments that were stated about Pathways.He said this is a program that fits well and has sustained cuts.He asked the Board to support Pathways.

 

Guy Avenal, 2510 Jeppeson Acres Road, Eugene, stated he is a representative of Master Industrial Supply.He said they support major industry in the area.He was surprised no one asked for any quotes from him.He noted there is a county in Idaho that used his product for their equipment and out of 45 vehicles; they saved $1 million over three years.He thought with the 1,000 vehicles the County owns, it could come to $7,407,000 in savings.†† He said NASA uses the product to lubricate their equipment in space.He said whenever friction is reduced in any type of environment, you get more work out of less energy expended.He was asking for equal footing with other contractors in the area.He said it came up when his county representative didnít put any oil or grease in the vehicles because he said the manufacturer does not recommend it.He said their oil could go out to 100,000 miles in a diesel and 25,000 miles in a gasoline engine. He noted the company that manufactures it doesnít have any type of advertising program.He said they have been in business for 54 years without any advertising, just by word of mouth.He said the Countyís equipment is going to start failing and with his product they wonít have the same engine failures that cost so much money.He didnít ask for money but for the opportunity to give him an equal evaluation.

 

John Reyes, 3050 Country Lane, stated he works for the Veteran Service office.He noted that Lane County has a Veteranís Service office that consists of 2.5 personnel: a Veteran Service Coordinator, an assistant and a half-time office assistant.He said because of the Lane County Veteranís Service office, $43,848,000 came into Lane County last year through VA funds.He said the money goes to the veterans and their dependents.He noted they have 36,645 veterans living in Lane County.He said the office is losing the half-time position that is also an office manager.He added the person maintains over 2,000 files that are kept in the office.He urged the Board to consider keeping the job to help not only the veterans but for the staff help.

 

There being no one else signed open to speak, Crowell closed the Public Hearing.

 

Garnick passed out five sets of budget minutes to be reviewed at Thursdayís meeting.

 

IX. ADJOURN

 

Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

 

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Minutes Recorder