LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE

April 27, 2004

5:15 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 5/6/04

 

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

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

Chair David Crowell called the meeting to order.

 

II. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

Approval of April 20, 2004, 6:15 p.m. Lane County Budget Committee Minutes.  

 

MOTION:  to approve the Minutes of April 20, 2004.

 

Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

III. BUDGET REDUCTIONS

 

Tanya Heaton, Senior Management Analyst, passed out a worksheet on budget reductions.  (Copy in file).  She noted that Lane County has taken $30 million in reductions over the past three years.  She explained if they go with the proposed budget this year, they wouldn’t have budget cuts next year.  She said that would be holding the line on the benefits and PERS, but the following year they would be making reductions again.

 

Morrison thought they should start working on this problem now.  She said they were looking at services and how to provide them.  She didn’t think there would be a difference between now and in 2006/2007 with the budget. 

 

Heaton recalled the reason the Leadership Team discussed going with a larger reduction this year is to have 18 months to find solutions to the structural deficit.

 

Morrison said she didn’t think there was a solution unless they did something about benefits.

 

Dwyer commented that all of the services are essential to someone who receives them.  He said they have a responsibility to find alternatives or have a dialogue with the citizens prior to the time they eliminate services to give them a choice.  He didn’t think the citizens have been given that choice.

 

Van Vactor said they would be asking the Board whether they want a goal setting or strategy sessions.  He thought this was the first step.

 

Green noted the budget was based on the direction from the Leadership Team to make a nine percent across-the-board cut.  He asked what would have been gained if they applied the principles in the Strategic Plan with the priorities of critical life, safety and health issues.

 

Van Vactor responded the Board received the charts in January of the way the programs were ranked.  He added with this large a deficit, they wouldn’t be funding parks, they would be re-directing money from car rental tax to parks, and they wouldn’t be funding Animal Regulation.  He said given those changes, there would still be a deficit of $3 million.

 

Dwyer commented the exercise they went through was the fairest way. He said it requires stringent review.  He thought the prudent thing would be to review every budget to try to achieve the nine percent across the board objection.  He added the downside is that some departments are more dependent upon the general fund than others.

 

IV. DISTRICT ATTORNEY REDUCTIONS

 

Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, passed out information. (Copy in file).  He noted on B-11 in the budget book, it gives the District Attorney’s office a $1,092,419 cut.  He noted since the proposed budget was created, they are going to get a small amount of revenue that reduces their cut to $1 million from $1,092,000.   He indicated the INET team will close on July 1 and they would be given $15,000 out of the close out dollars to finish up some of the cases next year.  He reported, for next year in Family Law, instead of the budgeted amount of $225,000 of general fund, they will be able to use some of the trust fund, but they can’t go below $150,000 because of state and general government.  He said they have to spend $150,000 in the general fund.   

 

Harcleroad passed out a list of reductions. (Copy in file).  He said they do mandated services the law requires the District Attorneys to do to minimize the negative impacts to the public of about 19% of the District Attorneys’ budget.  He said their revenue has dropped.  He noted when the INET team closes, they are going to lose $125,000, but they will still have the drug cases.  

 

Harcleroad thought they could do the mandated things.  He said they could do restitution calculations. He noted that 2,000 non-violent misdemeanors would not be prosecuted as of May 1, 2004.  He added they only have six lawyers in the misdemeanor division.  He said they only have 25 lawyers total, (counting him) in the criminal division.  He indicated that each lawyer is doing between 750 to 1,000 cases with one clerical assistant.  He said because of the cuts the drug court will close.  He added that 650 felony property cases under $1,500 would not be heard.  He explained on average there are 48,999 lawyer hours with 8,000 cases. He noted there is about six hours spent per average on each case.  He stated he had taken off one of the deputy medical examiner cuts from the budget book.  

 

Harcleroad explained the $125,000 that the narcotics team gives them to do criminal and civil forfeiture cases would go away.  He added that $64,000 of the Deputy District Attorney supplement would go away.  He said the State of Oregon has abandoned its obligation to support state prosecutions.  He added the state budget for district attorneys used to contain salaries for 36 DA’s witness fees that cover $30,000 or $40,000, but the money is now gone.  He noted that last year they used $141,000 of revenues from Family Law to backfill positions to avoid cuts so they only lost two lawyers and one secretary year.  

 

Sorenson asked if they had the goal to zero in on the most significant expenditures and to do them first in the budget.  He added if the goal was prosecution of personal crimes and how they add the Family Law division.

 

Harcleroad wanted the Budget Committee to set priorities because the department heads and Leadership Team didn’t do it.  He said that Family Law is child support.  He explained for every dollar they spend on raising child support, the federal government will give them 66.67 cents.  He added that they pay incentive money for doing a good job.  He said they generate over $20 million for children in the community based on the $150,000 of general fund money.  He said if they don’t spend the $150,000, the state would say they are in violation and they would close the whole program.

 

Dwyer noted that all were important programs but the problem was that Harcleroad is an officer of the state and the county pays half of his salary.  He said the reason Harcleroad gets so much from the general fund is because the state continues to withdraw their support and the County supplants the support of the general fund by the state’s withdrawal of crimes against the state.  He said that Lane County is left with the responsibility when they don’t have the means and the whole system of justice is broken because Lane County only receives $1.29 per $1,000 of tax money.  He said Lane County doesn’t have the money to do it.  He said they have to think about how they are going to revise the system so everyone pays and benefits. With regard to revenue of non-support, he thought it was critical.  He stated whatever they could do to leverage, match and draw in other funds they have to continue to do.

 

V. SHERIFF’S OFFICE REDUCTIONS

 

Jan Clements, Sheriff, said in identifying reduction in service the Sheriff’s Department re-evaluated expenses line item by line item and critiqued all of their revenue scenarios.  He said it was undertaken to ensure realistic projects with the objective of using all means to preserve the services they possibly could within the parameters that the budget directives were given.  He explained that the system is not only law enforcement and prosecution, but is youth services, the associated treatment programs, parole and probation, the courts and transition services through various providers.

 

Clements indicated they were cutting an Interagency Narcotics Detective.  He noted the cost is $80,000 or one position.  He recalled the Sheriff’s Office used to contribute three staff to the INET team.  He said they would have lost the ability to address drug manufacturing and sales.  He thought there would be low areas of drug level investigation as opposed to higher level manufacturing cases and distribution cases.  He commented that 80% of those incarcerated in the U.S. today have some drug related charges.  He stated that property and person crimes would continue to increase.   

 

Clements discussed the 26-bed reduction in the Community Corrections Center. He said if they can’t move people from the jail into an alternative program, then they don’t free up space in the jail that could house more serious offenders.  He added it followed the reduction the previous year of 119 beds; 35 beds in the intake center lost because of the loss of state funding and 84 due to the decline in County revenue and the ability to fund those beds last year.  He commented that law enforcement officers need beds so that they could book people in. He said if they don’t have the threat of incarceration or sanction, then the treatment doesn’t work.  He added it would increase the releases that are unsupervised back into the community to 120 more per year.

 

Clements indicated there is money that had been identified by the supervisory authority team.  He said they were spending at a lower level prior to Measure 30.  He added because of that they didn’t spend at a higher rate and are not in jeopardy.  He stated that as they evaluate the contingency money they have, they have one year to spend it to save the loss of 48 more beds.

 

With regard to law enforcement, Clements reported that the Sheriff’s Office is operating with 25 to 33% of the deputies who would normally need to patrol an area and the population of Lane County, before they go to any further reduction.  He said the cost of the patrol package is $451,000 for four deputy sheriffs and one sergeant and it reduces the patrol in suburban and rural Lane County.  He stated that 24-hour patrol would no longer be possible in Lane County.  He said they have a variety of contractual relationships that have to be honored as they are tied to revenue streams.  He said they presently have 18 Sheriff’s deputies for all of Lane County for a 24/7 operation.  He said when they have a life-threatening emergency, they will call someone out from home and it would add 30 minutes to the response time and would be overtime.   

 

Clements stated they looked at their support staff and concluded they could reduce it by 1.5FTE or $89,914.  He said they are processing at a higher order per FTE than they ever had. 

 

VI. YOUTH SERVICES REDUCTIONS

 

Lisa Smith, Youth Services, gave a presentation of the Youth Services reductions. (Copy in file). She recalled the previous two fiscal year’s reductions were a combination of general fund, state and federal fund cuts.  She said they lost eight juvenile councilors over the past two years.  She added they lost the reduction of six alcohol and drug treatment beds for boys and a $250,000 reduction in the juvenile breaking the cycle federal grant program.  She stated they had the reduction of seven local Shelter Care beds for boys that were 50% of their capacity.  She added they had the reduction of 45 secure state beds with the Oregon Youth Security.  She indicated they had a 73% reduction in state juvenile crime prevention funding, going from $1.5 million to $400,000.  She noted they had a 100% reduction of state funded Oregon Youth Authority shelter beds.

 

Smith explained the Department of Youth Services’ budget is comprised of approximately 40% of state or federal funds.  She noted the decline of the state economy along with the shifting of federal funding had made it challenging for Department of Youth Services.  She noted the present cuts include the nine percent across the board reduction for a total reduction of $1,067,652.  She said the reduction recommendations include the elimination of one juvenile councilor position and the elimination of two supervisor positions for a total FTE of 72.35.  She said they utilized the strategic plan for their cuts.

 

VII. COUNTY UNMET FINANCIAL NEEDS

 

Garnick explained that unmet needs were a list of things that were cut in the past that they no longer are able to do.  He added as they continue to cut budgets and services, this list would grow.  He said the point was to keep it in front of the committee.

 

Gangle noted the items listed in Assessment and Taxation’s unmet needs are not part of the cuts they are taking.  He said two items that were listed as unmet needs will get worse because they were identified as cut packages into being unmet needs:  the division property problems they had experienced in clerical and cartography.  He said another problem is tax code boundaries, making sure they have the property in the right taxing district that affects elections.  He noted there is a new law they would have to implement by May 1 on the way manufactured structures will be assessed.  That will be moved from the DMV to the county assessor’s office.  He said there are four things identified in the unmet needs that are as a result of the strategic plan, trying to identify efficiencies and make operations perform better.

 

Rob Rockstroh, Director, Health & Human Services, said their list is a combination of things that were cut in the past and this year’s cut.  He noted that his department lost 40 positions last year. He noted the rural clinics were still an issue.  He said his department went back to the Strategic Plan and looked at critical life and health safety and that is how they prioritized his budget.  He was worried about balance in the system.  He said that Jan Clements, Doug Harcleroad and he would work with misdemeanors on domestic violence as sex offenses.  He was supportive of the add-back of jail beds for $1,000,000.  He said he was in need of a new public health building.

 

County Counsel Teresa Wilson indicated her unmet needs list did not include the cuts for this year.  She said her unmet need was a law student intern in their office.  She added it was the cut they took last year.  She said any money that was available to hire a law student intern is at a cost of about $15 per hour compared to the research capacity of one of the attorneys in the office of $88 per hour.  She commented that it was a low cost of way of doing research.

 

Clements noted the Sheriff’s Department has an ongoing critical need, which is the microwave network.  He said they are actively going after homeland security money and grants from Oregon Emergency Management.  He noted they received $1 million from Salem with half going to the microwave system.  He said they are partnering with EWEB to make it work.  He stated there was a request for $361,000 for training with an assessment tacked on to traffic citations.  He said in Corrections, facility maintenance had a $1.1 million add for the HVAC mechanical system.  He said they have approached Finance and Audit about an innovative way to finance that through energy savings.

 

Smith said she wanted 21 beds at Pathways, 21 beds of shelter, a day and evening reporting center to hook on with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Education Center.  She wanted mental health services for youth coming to Department Youth Service and for Lane County.  She noted they need girl services, shelters for girls and drug and alcohol treatment.

 

VIII. PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Judge Jim Hargreaves, passed out an article about Pathways. (Copy in file).  He asked the Board to add back Pathways.

 

Gary Oldham, 1392 Lorane Highway, Eugene, stated she teaches at LCC in the Human Services program.  She added she has been on the Pathways Advisory Board and she feels strongly about Pathways.  She said that Pathways is a program that has reflected the best practices in the field.  She noted there is a 96% rate of graduates not committing crime a year after they had graduated from the program.  She said it is an organization that has a successful track record with difficult young people.  She added the clientele is getting younger and have mental health problems.  She said the program is a model program.  She noted it is a program that leverages other money.  She said it costs $329,000 but leverages almost $600,000.

 

Martin Starr, 3060 McKendrick St., Eugene, stated he is a mental health specialist at the Department of Youth Services.  He said he does assessments and referrals.  He noted that everyone he refers to Pathways has drug and alcohol issues.  He added they all have a significant mental health issue.  He commented that no one works as successfully with that combination as Pathways.  He asked the Board to let Pathways stand.

 

Bill Furtick, 334 Lone Oak, Eugene, said he is a lawyer in Juvenile Court.  He noted that Juvenile Court has become drug court.  He said the treatment is the only thing that will work.  He recommended taking the money out of the prosecution budget. He added that is the choice he asked the Budget Committee to make.

 

Barbara Kaye, 1700 Anthony Court, Cottage Grove, said she has worked for 25 years as a nurse mid-wife in Cottage Grove.  She said the access for a health care center is needed in their community. She commented that 80% of the women who were teen mothers were survivors of some type of abuse, most often sexual.  She added that they often deal with Hispanic women who have the same problems but with the additional language barrier that keeps them from access to services.  She said if they increase the difficulty in accessing services, they would get no services.  She added that anything that is a barrier to make things harder increases the likelihood that they won’t get the services at all.  She said the hours that are at the Cottage Grove Clinic are minimal but vital.  She said if they lose those, the community would end up dealing with the after effects of helping the families after the children are born.

 

Bob Holman, supported the District Attorney’s budget.  He said the criminal justice system wouldn’t function if everything were not in place.  He commented that if the District Attorney has to lay off staff and not prosecute cases, the whole system would suffer. He commented it wasn’t good for the community or for criminal justice.

 

Bruce Pratt, 42000 Holden Creek Lane, Springfield, stated he lives in rural Lane County and is a member of Crime Victims United.  He stated that public safety is a mandated county function.  He said if the county decides not to do any one portion of the process, the crime rate would soar.  He said that taxpayers have paid their tax bill with a promise of having a safe place to live and work.  He said they have to think about the costs to the citizens when they cut services.  He wanted the District Attorney’s budget in line so criminals can be prosecuted.

 

Ann Pratt, 42000 Holden Creek Lane, commented because of the budget cuts to the District Attorney’s office, they are concerned about public safety in the community. She said because of the drastic cuts in the District Attorney’s budget, she believed that Lane County might become a criminal’s utopia.  She thought that ordinary citizens would take the law into their own hands.  She asked the Budget Committee to reconsider the drastic cuts to the District Attorney’s office.  She asked that they prioritize public safety.

 

Dan Rupe, 2150 Laura St., Springfield, stated he is a veteran of Lane County from the Viet Nam area.  He commented the veterans that are served through the office are referred there by a variety of agencies. He noted that 2.5 FTE covered all applicants.  He said the office generates a lot of money and if it is taken away; the County would lose  revenue.  He noted that veterans that would be affected would be extreme.  He thought it was in the best interest of all taxpayers in the county to continue the funding.

 

Gary Smith, President Viet Nam Veterans, Chapter 144, 127 Harbor Drive, said they take people off the streets and get them into rehab to get them off drugs and alcohol and get medical and psychiatric help.  He noted for a period of time they had a contract for the service but they gave it back to the county.   

 

Nick Urhausen, Post Commander, said he had been before the Board several times before on the Veterans Service office.  He said there is a state law to allow the property in the county to fund the Veteran’s Service office.  He noted it would be pennies per household.  He suggested putting it on the November ballot to see if it passes.  He commented it is a needed program.  

 

Judy Greig,  2043 Smith Oak Street, stated she is the immediate past president of the State Council of Viet Nam Vets of America.  She commented that the Veterans Service is an important service for many people in the area.  She said there is half-time person set to be dismissed and the reduction would equal less direct contact by the councilor or 70 people per month and it would reduce or eliminate outreach.  She supported Urhausen’s suggestion.

 

Nathan Fendrich, 2900 Firwood Way, Eugene, stated there are thousands of veterans in Lane County that need this service.  He added in many cases it is a life and death situation.  He thought it would be a bad idea to cut any money from the Veteran’s Service.

 

Cheryl O’ Neill, 24307 High Pass Road, Junction City, said she works at Women’s Space.  She hoped the Budget Committee would be able to prioritize the way cuts are made to keep the most people safe.

 

VIII. COMMUNITY FINANCIAL REQUESTS

 

Anette Spickard, Budget Analyst, explained they put information out to the community late in March to any community organizations that wished to bring forward project ideas to the Lane County Budget Committee that the County would provide a process and forum to do so.  She said they received five requests this year.

 

Jim Baker, Blue River Community Development Corporation, 51013 McKenzie Highway, Finn Rock, said their organization is a 501(c) (3) organization for the livability of the McKenzie School District.  He said they want to maintain the rural atmosphere with emphasis on the Blue River Water District.  He noted even though it is a small request for Lane County, that it is important to Blue River.  He said it is a severely economically depressed area.  He noted they are 70% below the low to moderate income level.  He said they were asking $636 for crime prevention lighting.

 

Katie O’ Donnell, Community Action Advisory Community. 814 Martin Street, Eugene, stated the Human Service Commission Budget Planning Committee put together a proposal with the Human Services Network.  She said they recommend funding.  She said that human services in Lane County needs to be fully funded with stable funding.  She encouraged the Budget Committee to start a public dialogue about priorities in the County around early intervention and prevention.  She said they are requesting  $179,690 with the Human Services Network.  She noted that was from last year’s severe reduction of $208,000.

 

Irene Altucker, Relief Nursery, 1720 W. 25th, represented the Human Services Network that is a network of 22 providers that are funded through the Human Services Commission.  She noted in past years when the community request had gone out the agencies had come to the Board individually to ask for funds.  She said the agencies thought it would be better to hear from them as one voice and hear the importance of keeping the services they provide through the Human Services Commission.  She stated that all of the agencies are non-profit and receive other funds besides the funds that are received from the Human Services Commission.  She added the Human Services funding for many of the agencies provides leveraging that they need to continue to raise other funds.  She indicated that 47% of the people they serve are children.  She said their budget committee is recommending funding for this.  She noted one of the ongoing concerns is to make sure they are not duplicating services.  She said they were working hard to collaborate with one another.  She said the money represented 10 FTE.  She said they were hoping to prevent the future need for the services that will be cut.   

 

Marcy Middleton, Lane County Diversity Task Force, 241 E. 34th, Eugene, represented the Diversity Task Force for Lane County.  She asked for budget support to restore one FTE position supporting Lane County’s commitment to diversity and cultural competency.  She said they want the position restored in the Human Resources Department to restore the Diversity Analyst Position and the Performance and Development position to full time.  She said it would adequately address the diverse needs of the entire population of Lane County. She said they need to ensure that the programs are truly accessible to all, that their reports appropriately reflect the diversity of the community it serves, to ensure implementation of phase two of the County’s diversity plan, to help maintain expert support to the various diversity advisory committees through out Lane County and to ensure the workforce performs at its full potential to providing services and programs to all segments of the community.  She said they think the restoration of the full-time analyst and performance and development coordinator would help to keep their diversity efforts to only be able to respond to symptomatic measures.

 

Lupe Joinworth, Diversity Task Force, 777 Pearl, stated she was new to the area and was asked to participate in the Diversity Task Force.    She was impressed by the quality of work that had been done in Lane County around diversity.  She said if the positions are not funded, she feared that all this time and energy would have just been a token effort at best.  She wanted to see Lane County continue to be an innovative leader in the area of diversity.  She said they have the plan but they need the staff positions to continue what was started in 1991 to ensure they are offering adequate services to all Lane County citizens and employees.  She urged the Board to consider their request to restore to full-time the diversity analyst and performance and development coordinator position.

 

Stan Thomas, USDA Wildlife Office, P. O. Box 1261 Roseburg, stated their program has been functional in the county since 1931.  He said they work hard with people who make a living.  He noted last year the County came up with half-funding for the program.  He said they were able to maintain the program in Lane County.  He said if they lose the program completely, they would lose $25,925 state and federal monies they have as matching dollars for the program.

 

Michael Mattick, Watermaster, said he would withdraw his request.  He said his office provides services to the County.  He stated he provided a valuable function to the County.  He also thought it is a function of the state and he shouldn’t be asking the County for support.

 

IX. ADJOURN

 

Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m.

 

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary.