BOARD OF COMMISSIONERSí

WORK SESSION

January 20, 2004

10:00 a.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 11/10/04

 

Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Don Hampton, Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. Bill Dwyer was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

Van Vactor scheduled the Willakenzie Fire District item for tomorrowís meeting.

 

# 2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

None.

 

3. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE

 

Sorenson recalled that at the Martin Luther King March, there was a presentation by Pastor Stubs, a youth pastor and police officer.Sorenson commented that Stubs gave a speech that was inspirational.

 

Green said that Carl Stubs, Jr., is a police officer for the City of Eugene but is a former youth pastor.He noted he is a pastor at his churchís congregation in Springfield.†† He agreed the speech was inspirational.He read an article in The Register Guard, about rich county and poor city.He said he would be responding to that in his own way.††

 

Hampton enjoyed the poetry meeting at the Martin Luther King March.He noted The Register Guard printed the names of the winners of the contest.Also, he said he followed up with Kent Howe, Land Management, about the groundwater management area and Steve Hopkins of Land Management is monitoring that.

 

4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

None.

 

5. INFORMATION SYSTEMS

 

a. DISCUSSION/New Lane County Board of Commissioners' Meeting Web Cast System.

 

Darryl Landrum, Information Services, gave a presentation on the live meeting web cast system.

 

6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

None.

 

b. DISCUSSION/Direction to Staff, Possible Revision of the 1994 Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Florence Regarding the Financing of the Florence Events Center, Amending Lane Code 4.175 Regarding Use of Transient Room Tax.

 

Van Vactor noted that included in the packet was background material regarding the 1994 Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Florence wherein Lane County pledged on an annual basis (subject to each yearís budget) transient room tax to help finance the Events Center.He said because of the key interest rates, the City of Florence has pursued refinancing and producing some annual savings.He noted the request is to reduce the annual payment from $200,000 to $190,000 and that would free up transient room tax that could be used elsewhere.He added they would like to use up to $40,000 for operations.††

 

Rodger Bennett, City of Florence, reported that they looked at this as a reduction in the debt service.He said that all of the revenues of the city were exposed for the repayment of the debt.He indicated they could reduce those payments by almost one-quarter.He said they understood it could create more exposure to the city for debt service if the economy should fall.He wanted to work with the County into a partnership.He indicated they were experiencing some loss of revenue at the Events Center because the reserve account that was kept there produced interest income and at todayís low interest market it disappeared.He thought they should take advantage of the low interest they pay to appreciate those savings.He proposed that the city could experience the reduction in cash flow by the collapse of the reserve account but the County could experience the actual reduction in debt service because of the interest savings.He said it works out to be about an 80/20 split of reductions.†† He added they would have to change the County code to be allowed for that to be used for operations as well as debt service.He noted the annual savings to the County would amount to about $10,000 per year.

 

Morrison thought the Events Center plays a tremendous role in the community.With regard to operations, she was concerned that when they originally built it, they said they would try not to use any taxpayer money and they had held that to this point.††† She was concerned with the casino that if they decide to build an entertainment facility, it would impact the Events Center.She thought they needed to be aware of that and if they could make this work it would be a win-win for everyone.

 

Bennett indicated the city does have a formula base for crediting local schools.He noted their agreement with the County provides a similar situation for a lower dollar amount.He commented the staff at the Events Center does a good job and they are busy.He added they are not as successful in attracting out of town conventions in the current economy.He noted the community uses it and it is busy about 80% of the time.

 

Green asked if this went to Finance and Audit.

 

Van Vactor responded they were initially trying to process this in advance of the next payment so they could refinance and save money by February 1.He noted that didnít work out.He said they moved this directly to the Board.

 

Bennett explained the staff at the Events Center is a skeleton crew.He noted they have three full time employees doing the work of about a dozen people.He added they also have volunteers.He reported the operation of the Events Center Budget is only about $200,000, including marketing.He stated in the operations would be care, maintenance, staff and daily marketing of the Events Center.

 

Wilson indicated the portion of the funding that is used to support the debt is from a five percent piece of the room tax.She said it was dedicated for capital.She noted the code language says use is for debt service, capital projects or otherwise as directed by the Board annually through the budget process.She said what staff would like to know is if they want to amend the code and undedicate the capital side or if they want to continue to have this come through the annual budget process.She noted they already had an annual budget order relative to the fairgrounds that they approved last year for the use of the money to pay back the Planetarium loan and to create the rainy day reserve.She didnít think it would be problematic to bring it back through an annual budget process.

 

Sorenson asked what the downside would be for refinancing this and using the funds for capital and not operations.

 

Bennett responded the exposure would cause them to look at whether or not it was worth the transaction.He indicated that if none of the funds flowed to the city then they would lose the savings of public dollars if they didnít refinance it.††

 

Green stated there were no objections to the proposal suggested by the City of Florence and recommended that they give direction for the re-financing, using the $40,000.††

 

Van Vactor indicated he would take this to the CVALCO Board meeting for information to see if it causes any issues regarding the lodging industry.

 

Wilson said this would come back to the Board with the annual budget order and an amendment to the Intergovernmental Agreement.

 

Sorenson stated he would rather see TRT dollars be spent on parks, libraries and police officers instead of on the Events Center.

 

Wilson explained that the use of TRT dollars is no longer in the Boardís control.She noted that the state legislation was very clear that the use of TRT dollars identified convention and conference centers as an eligible use.She added if they were to look at the use of dollars for other purposes, they would have to evaluate to see if it fell within the definition allowed under the state law.She thought using the money for policing would be a problem.

 

7. COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

a. REPORT BACK/Lane Metro Partnership Proposal.

 

Jack Roberts, Lane Metro Partnership, recalled that last summer he came to the Board about the desire to do a study of available land in the Eugene/Springfield metropolitan area.He noted the primary interest at the Lane Metro Partnership is having adequate industrial land they could recruit businesses from outside as well as having room for local businesses to expand.He believed that because of the overlap of commercial and industrial lands they need to do a study of both.He said that the Homebuilders Association was doing their own study of residential land and it wouldnít be their proposal to duplicate that, but to study the data so there could be an examination of the entire supply of land as it relates to this area in conformity of state law.He passed out a study of the report of the Governorís task force on the industrial lands. (Copy in file).He found that the law that had been enacted 30 years ago did a good job of outlining mechanisms that could be used for updating the supply of land periodically.He said they hadnít utilized the provision.He indicated their first responsibility is to address the issue to try to deal with it in accordance with the existing land use system.He said it encouraged LCDC to look at rule making.He commented that the first responsibility for making the land use system work rests with local government.

 

Terry Moore, Eco Northwest, reported they established in the 70ís and 80ís some urban growth boundaries.He said there was a law that stated there needed to be a 20-year supply of land.He explained the population and employment in the Willamette Valley has grown five times more than UGBs during that time.He indicated over time they had not filled up the boundaries at the same rate they have had population and employment growth.He noted the controversy is in the current debate about expansion of the UGBs, the measurement details and the view that developers and economic development specialist take. He said the short run view is that even if the planners are correct about a 20 year land supply, the aggregate land supply is not an indication of how economic development is going to occur. He thought the politics of making policy changes would be difficult if there is a continued debate about facts.He said the recommendation of the task force as a necessary first step is the Governorís Economic Revitalization Team should have as a priority giving assistance to local governments to make sure they know what their parcels are and whether they are short or not.He said they found that some places have a lot of land and no demand, and places with a lot of demand and little land.He said they found Salem, Eugene and Portland lacking industrial lands, whereas the east side of the mountains, they have the land but not the businesses.He said they need to have a large database where all of the parcels are of record.He said they have been recommending getting the data correct to find out how much land they actually have.

 

Sorenson asked what the role of the various cities and counties were in Oregon versus a report to the governor dealing with land use laws and the regulatory work of the Land Conservation Development Commission.He asked about what counties need to implement the results of the test.

 

Moore estimated that the report is 50/50 on what the state and what the local government should do.He said it is still perceived and desired to be a local government program.He noted the emphasis for the cities and counties is getting the facts right on what they have.He said they have to get a clear vision on what they would like to have and getting the policies set up to move toward that vision.

 

Sorenson asked what Lane County should do to follow up on the results with the task force.

 

Roberts responded that page 17 of the report of the inventory verification and updates (copy in file), is that it was a governorís task force for state government and almost all the recommendations are directed to state agencies.He thought they should review it to see how they could do Lane Countyís instead of waiting for the state to help.He thought having the inventory and maintaining it was the biggest single issue.

 

Moore explained if the recommendation is that the state requires all jurisdictions to have an inventory, there were implications that would come out of this for local government.

 

Roberts recommended the Board take the things suggested and go forward with the inventory because they have the ability to do it locally.

 

Morrison recalled in September, Roberts came before the Board and wanted to start on the first recommendation regarding the inventory.She thought they were already behind because they gave direction not to move forward.She wanted to move forward now with the first recommendation.

 

Roberts said they have to have a number of sites to have people look at the land. He said people think of Lane County as the metropolitan area.He noted the economic growth will be generated by the interest they are tracking as an entire county and has to include the metropolitan area.

 

Hampton asked what the role was of the Lane Metro Partnership.

 

Roberts said they looked at the supply of land and were concerned they were short. He said that was when the Metro Partnership Board voted unanimously to send a letter to Springfield, Eugene and Lane County.He said the Metro Partnership has unanimously supported doing the study of the supply of available land.He said they have not taken a position on whether they need to expand the urban growth boundary.

 

Roberts believed that Lane County has to be the lead agency with this.He requested that a report be done for an amount not to exceed $50,000.He said if Eugene, Springfield and Lane County each committed $15,000, the Metro Partnership would pay anything above that.He wanted Lane County to be the lead agency and they recommended that it be contracted out with support from local government that is not added to Lane Countyís Land Management Department.He added it could be done by mid-year if they undertook this within the next month.He said they have some resources to front this for the County if the resources were not currently there.He requested the Board move forward with this.He suggested Bill Van Vactor assign someone to take the lead on this and the Metro Partnership will work to help it happen.

 

Green thought Lane County should take the lead because they contract with the Lane Metro Partnership and provide the lionís share of the Metro Partnership.He commented while this report was the product of a governorís task force, they are a subdivision of the state and they might be obligated to enact some of the recommendations that might come out of the report without any funding to do it.He recommended using someone that has no vested interest in providing data, as they need factual information.††

 

Sorenson was interested in seeing who would be doing the data and the cost in writing so it could be reviewed.He wanted to know how they would make the argument that they should be expending additional money outside of the current budget when they are cutting the budget across the board.He asked who would be doing this study. He asked why they would be using someone that was not internal to do the report.

 

Hampton asked who would be deciding what the key locations or communities are.

 

Roberts indicated the state would be making that determination.He said there was land available outside of the metropolitan area. He said they donít have the services to make the land available.He said with the rest of the county there is not a major problem with a shortage of land.He said the metropolitan area is what they have identified as one that has a potential problem that they would like to evaluate.He said they werenít having trouble marketing what they have today.He thought it was important to do this from an economic standpoint because in a few years when the economy turns around and if they are successful in marketing this area, they would then run out of land.He commented that it was an investment in the future.

 

Morrison hoped if LCOG did this that their information is better than what they had received for the residential lands and she questioned the charges the County was charged.She thought the cost was high and that they should possibly look elsewhere.She noted in the Strategic Plan they stated they wanted to try to generate additional revenue.She thought one way of doing that is to get more things on the tax rolls so they have the ability to increase the revenue numbers.She commented they could find a source to do this out of their general discretionary fund.She thought they could hire a staff person from the Commissionersí reserves if they wanted to truly impact the overall economic possibilities for the county.

 

Roberts indicated he would work with Van Vactor to put something together to bring back to the Board in two weeks.

 

8. CONSENT CALENDAR

 

BEGINNING OF CONSENT CALENDAR * * * *

 

A. Approval of Minutes:

May 7, 2003, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

May 7, 2003, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.

January 7, 2004, Regular Meeting, 2:00 p.m.

 

B. Health and Human Services

 

1) ORDER 04-1-20-1/In the Matter of Authorizing the County Administrator to Sign a Grant Application to the State Office of Department of Human Services for $90,000 to Support the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP).

 

C. Public Works

 

1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 04-1-20-2/In the Matter of Setting a Public Hearing on the Proposed Surrender of Portions of South Garden Way (County Roads Number 307, 388, 531 & 1304), to the City of Eugene (Public Hearing: February 25, 2004, 1:30 pm).

 

END OF CONSENT CALENDAR * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

MOTION:to approve the Consent Calendar.

 

Sorenson MOVED, Hampton SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 3-0 (Morrison out of room).

 

9. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Green noted tomorrow is a joint meeting with the Board and the Commission on Children and Families at 5:30 p.m.

 

10. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

11. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

None.

 

12. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Green adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording.