LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Board of Commissioners Conference Room
Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Don Hampton, Mary Ann Holser, Francisca Johnson; Kathy Keable, Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Senior Budget Analyst Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. COMMITTEE BUSINESS
2. PUBLIC COMMENT
Jim Forbes, Looking Glass, 72 b Centennial Loop, recalled that since the first budget meeting they have had over 50 Pathways supporters present and 17 individuals who testified. He noted a common theme was that the program is a national model and successful. He said it is a critical part of the juvenile justice system. He noted for every dollar of county money, they get a dollar of federal money as a match. He said that Pathways helps youth regain their lives. He asked the Budget Committee to keep Pathways open.
Sandy Karston, Meals on Wheels, 1015 Willamette, supported full funding of the Human Services Commission budget, allowing the HSC core funding for a continuum of services essential to the well-being of Lane County residents. She commented that they anticipate more need for the safety net services funded under the HSC.
Jan Silva, Senior Connections, 1015 Willamette, represented Senior Connections formerly known as Senior Outreach. She noted they are a member of the Lane County Human Services Providers Network. She encouraged the Budget Committee to support the Human Services budget request to continue essential services to the well-being of Lane County residents. She noted that Senior Connections is the only provider in Lane County that offers access to services to address the basic in-home needs of seniors age 60 and older. She added the County’s support helps them leverage state funds for their program and a reduction in HSC funding would create an additional reduction in state funding.
Jan Aho, 82233 Rattlesnake Road, Dexter, Pearl Buck Center, explained the children who attend Pearl Buck Center have one or both parents with a developmental disability. She noted that research has shown that without intervention, over 50% of the children end up in special education because of environmental retardation. She said the funding from HSC represents the only local funding they receive. She added it allows them to leverage other dollars to fund the program.
Bob Richards, Buckley Center, said the loss of Lane County general fund dollars would be a large portion of their budget for the continued operation of the Buckley Center.
He said they are the only facility of its kind in Lane County. He noted they accepted 6,469 admissions during the past calendar year, with 5,413 going to their sobering station. He said the closure would not only mean the loss of a facility but it would also impact the public safety and finances of Lane County.
Carmen Urbina,788 Blackwood, Eugene, Centro Latino Americano, stated Centro Latino Americano is funded by the Human Services Commission. She said any reductions in funding to the general fund to the Human Services Commission would impact the continuum they are trying to maintain. She said they are struggling with budget cuts, but they have been able to maintain and provide quality services to the Lane County community. She asked the Budget Committee not to cut the $21,000 that has been proposed for the Human Services Commission.
Barbara Kaye, 1700 Anthony Court, Cottage Grove, spoke on rural health clinics. She commented that 80% of women who came through her practice who were pregnant as teens were abuse survivors. She added that 100% of the women who came through her practice with a history of drug abuse were either current or past abuse survivors. She said that prevention is the key and the family planning effort is vital.
Jodi DeLapp, 1225 S. Eighth Street, Cottage Grove, said that family planning service is needed in Cottage Grove. She stated it is a critical service as it not only prevents unwanted pregnancies but also provides exams and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. She added that they give health information to people who would not access it in any other way. She said it is a preventive service whose benefits will outweigh the cost of the outcome.
Merle Bottge, Parks Advisory Committee, 1777 W. 24th, Eugene, commented that many of the County parks are well-loved jewels. She said the County funds are inadequate to provide the staffing and maintenance the parks need to keep them sparkling. She said the Parks Division has worked hard to find funds to supplement things like the car rental tax. She said they charge user fees for campgrounds, picnic shelters and the entry to parks. She said they regularly seek grant money for water related facilities. Her request is that the Board will hold harmless the Park’s budget. She asked them to continue to provide a base dollar amount so they can maintain the County Parks facilities to provide services to enable them to charge user fees and generate revenue to care for the parks.
Diana Huntington, 87426 Halderson Road, Eugene, said she is the chairperson of the Animal Welfare Network of Lane County and is with other groups. She said the people who are in the not for profit sector of animal welfare are trying to keep up. She said the LCARA Task Force had come up with many recommendations. She urged the Committee to review them carefully and keep the funding levels at the place they currently are for LCARA and animal services in the community. She said a surcharge for pet food wouldn’t cost the County; it would be a surcharge that would be paid by people who are purchasing pet food.
Paulette Montplaisir, 2222 Coburg Road, supported Buckley House. She said she works with Shelter Care and they have suffered losses in funding. She stated she has referred people to Buckley house over the years. She asked the Board to continue to keep Buckley House in the community.
Jack Dresser, 38131 McKenzie Highway, supported the LCARA Task Force. He suggested the County direct resources to a system of positive motivation using strategies proven effective elsewhere. He liked the pet food tax but also had other ideas about increasing fees. He suggested acquiring a mobile spay and neuter clinic to provide convenient accessible neighborhood services on a regular rotating weekly schedule at the County.
Janet Lovelace, 34593 Matthews Road, stated she is a member of Crime Victims United. She said the County has lost its true purpose. She said the County needs to make sure the citizens have law enforcement and a District Attorney’s office that is fully functional. She stated she was Katy Lovelace’s mother, the girl who was killed on Matthews Road. She asked the Board to be accountable and responsible to make the right decision.
Marie Armstrong, 3061 W. 17th Avenue, Eugene, stated she is a member of MADD and Crime Victims United. She supported the District Attorney and the Victim Advocate. She stated she was a victim of crime. She didn’t want the committee to cut the District Attorney’s budget. She said the citizens were entitled to a fully budgeted sheriff and a victim’s advocate.
Crista Loveland, 1137 Birch, Cottage Grove, said she is the Director of the Women’s Information Network Service, a private non-profit that works out of the Cottage Grove area. She said they service at-risk families in Cottage Grove. She commented that domestic violence is a large problem and they have had deaths in Cottage Grove over the past six months. She said they work closely with Victim Services and the District Attorney’s office and any more cuts to those agencies would be catastrophic.
Michael Manning, 1766 Jefferson, White Bird, stated he refers people to Buckley House on a daily basis. He asked the Budget Committee not to close Buckley House.
Janice Iturro, 1310 Rutledge, Crime Victims United, said that her son was murdered in 1994. She asked the Budget Committee not to cut the Victim’s Advocacy office.
Val Haynes, Head Start, 220 Jefferson, Cottage Grove, stated she is a Public Health Nurse with Head Start. She requested that the Budget Committee review the budget of Lane County Public Health. She indicated services were being eliminated in Florence, Cottage Grove and Oakridge and citizens deserve the same level of public health that the citizens that live in Eugene and Springfield do. She stated that Head Start would be willing to collaborate on solutions to meet the needs of public health in those communities. She said they were asking for assurances to make sure that those communities don’t lose services when some things could be done differently.
Mike Weinstein, 892 Lariat, Eugene, stated he is the medical director of the new Lane County Community Health Center. He said if funding is shifted from the sobering station and Buckley House to the jail, the net result will be ten people every night who or inebriated or drug addicted who will receive no attention from the public safety sector.
Dian Missar, Blue Mountain School Road, Cottage Grove, recalled on May 4, (on behalf of Cottage Grove Families and Family Services) she came to the Budget Committee meeting to hear the Health Department’s budget proposal, only to be presented with a line item of zero. She said there were no dollars for rural health or for the 200 clients being served in Cottage Grove. She asked the Budget Committee to restore the dollars for the integrity to rural health services.
Paul Wagner, 2080 Monroe St., Eugene, stated he is a nurse at Sacred Heart. He spoke on behalf of the Buckley Center. He stated that the Buckley House was a good investment. He asked the Budget Committee to support it.
Chris Horton, 1085 Calvin St., Eugene, thought that all public officials who made over $70,000 should have their salaries reduced, with the money being given to social services.
Gaia Westerhoff, Cahoots, 321 W. 12, asked the Board to take Buckley’s funding off the chopping block and restore funds. She said Buckley House is a last stop for people who have fallen through the cracks. She commented without Buckley House, these people would end up on the streets and in hospitals and jail.
Jessica Chanay, 777 Bailey Hill Road, Eugene, said they need to support people when they need it the most. She reminded the Budget Committee that the Human Services Commission is vitally important as it keeps the community healthy and strong.
John Erickson, 6737 Ivy St., Springfield, Lane County Lodging Association, indicated they represent about 30 hotels and motels throughout Lane County. He said the hospitality industry employs over 14,000 employees and their request is that the Budget Committee doesn’t defer room tax funding that is utilized for marketing, but to keep those people employed and to bring tourists to the community. He asked to use the funds to continue to generate additional room tax dollars for the County.
Sarah Charlesworth, 465 Almaden St., commented it is vital the Board understands what the Human Services Commission provides for the community. She believed that funding Human Services was the best way of providing security for people. She commented when they cut prevention and early intervention programs, they are increasing the need for services in the future. She added that they are not leveraging public funds when they cut programs that prevent crime from occurring. She commented that the level of need in the community is higher than they are currently funding it.
Amie Gibson, from Oakridge, said she represented Head Start. She asked the Budget Committee to keep the clinic in Oakridge.
Susan Hardy, 76318 Garden Rd, Oakridge, stated she is a family advocate for Head Start in Oakridge. She asked the Budget Committee to reconsider the budget cuts for public health. She commented that people from Oakridge who use the public health services are not likely to commute to Eugene to receive those same services. She said if health care to poor people and children is cut, then everything else multiplies. She hoped they could continue to have public health services in Oakridge.
Cheryl MacGinitie, spoke on behalf of children and families of the Relief Nursery. She noted the Relief Nursery is one of 22 agencies currently funded by the Human Services Commission. She said the children need help from the community and they would be affected by the drastic cut in funds if Lane County eliminates their contribution to the Human Services Commission. She stated the HSC helps 27,122 households throughout Lane County and 47% of children. She urged the Budget Committee to not eliminate the funding to the Human Services Commission.
Gary Young, 741 E. 20th, Eugene, said he is the Emergency Director of the Emergency Department at Sacred Heart. He spoke in favor of Buckley House. He said if Buckley House is not funded, he will see the emergency room more crowded with patients who have nowhere to go for better care. He asked the Budget Committee to support the Buckley House.
Chris Heritage, 31708 Cottage Grove Lorane Road, Cottage Grove, stated she works as a nurse midwife at the Peace Health Natal Clinic. She spoke in favor of the Lane County Health Department Clinic in Cottage Grove. She asked the Budget Committee to restore the money for the Cottage Grove Public Health Clinic.
James Yarger, 3435 Kincaid St., Eugene, spoke in support of the Lane County Veteran Service office. He said it was important for the Budget Committee to keep the staffing open for the Lane County Veteran Service office.
Loraine Stihl, 83076 N. Bradford, Creswell, stated she couldn’t believe the Budget Committee would be implementing what the LCARA task force proposed. She noted the dogs going through LCARA had gone down 65%. She asked why they needed 30 to 60 more runs as they have never been full and they have human services that need funding.
Garnick noted that Mike Wellington, LCARA was asking for $15,342 to be restored from general fund support. He said with that and the additional fee increase, there was a possibility the City of Eugene would provide some money and they would be able to restore a position. He recalled the assessor’s office needed $200,000 to guarantee that Lane County could get $1.6 million for Assessment and Taxation. He noted the actual amount is $188,700. He indicated the District Attorney asked for $846,000 that would restore the previous cuts, plus some of the lost revenue.
Green asked if they as a Budget Committee could extract funds from the 04/05 budget from the $500,000 contingency and what the impact would be to help support some of the add backs.
Garnick responded that $525,000 is restricted to be used from the general fund.
Green asked if they could go into the prudent person reserve, recognizing they are not going to the voters. He commented that it would give them some flexibility.
Van Vactor commented they would have a structural deficit and things could get worse.
Johnson asked if direction was given to look at a nine percent cut across the board, what would be in jeopardy because of those cuts.
Van Vactor responded they didn’t know about the Department of Revenue grant until early in the day. He also didn’t know about the impact on SB 1145 until last week. He agreed that should have been brought up.
Dwyer asked if they had a seven percent reserve, how that would help the budget.
Garnick noted the proposed reserve for 04/05 is 7.97%. He said that Moody’s wanted to see if the Board could make a commitment toward that. He said they wanted to see if there was a trend. He added until they saw Lane County’s budget, he didn’t know what their reactions would be.
Anette Spickard, Budget Analyst, passed out a memo on the summary of the issues currently facing Lane County. (Copy in file). She indicated that Lane County’s bond rating is AA3, a high bond rating. She added they have had it for over 60 years, but last fall when they want to market and refinanced the general obligation bond, when Moody’s did the credit analysis of Lane County before they re-issued the bonds, they gave Lane County a negative outlook. She noted they didn’t downgrade the credit rating, but they issued a warning that they will consider downgrading the credit rating within 18 months and they will be looking at the year-end financial statements as of June 30, 2004. She indicated they would also look at the reserve levels as of the end of the fiscal year and at the budget for the 04/05 reserves. She indicated it was their concern because Lane County historically had reserves in the double digits in the general fund and over the past several years that had been declining.
Garnick indicated the Human Rights Advisory Committee requested $61,596. He recalled it was a community request to restore staffing to the Diversity Committee of the Human Rights Committee in Lane County.
With regard to Land Management and Economic Development, Hampton said they have a plan that could take video lottery money to add a person for permits. He said they would take it out of the strategic side and it wouldn’t cause an imbalance.
With regard to Pathways, Garnick explained the eight treatment beds were general fund money that also leverages an additional $150,000.
Garnick passed out information on the Rural Health Clinics. (Copy in file). He indicated they wanted $552,000 to restore the rural clinics.
Karen Gillette, Health and Human Services, explained they have been trying to develop private and public partnerships around immunizations and family services. She noted for Florence, they met with Health Associates and are interested in becoming a delegate agency to provide immunizations. She stated that family planning was unsure because they are concerned about being able to provide services with the family planning expansion project that serves childbearing women up to 185% of the poverty level. She thought that Planned Parenthood was interested in that. She said they were concerned about Title 10 clients who don’t have other resources and don’t qualify for the services. She noted that some of those people have been able to come into the Eugene office. With regard to Oakridge, she indicated they have had discussions with LIPA and Dr. Wheeler and he had assured them there were providers to be a delegate agency for immunizations and possibly a family planning expansion project. With regard to Cottage Grove, she said they were in discussions for providers. She said there was confusion as to whether LIPA coverage extends there. She noted that LIPA told them they did.
Hampton wanted more certainty by putting money in the budget and if something falls through, they would still have services. He added if it works out, then they wouldn’t spend the money.
Garnick recalled that the Sheriff was eliminating one shift of patrol so they will no longer have a 24/7 patrol, with a reduction of $451,549. He said if this was funded, it would have to be added back.
With regard to the community correction beds that would be eliminated at the Sheriff’s Office, Garnick indicated there would be a cost of $375,666 to restore those beds.
Steve Manela, Human Services Commission, said they had reduced their budget by $21,375 to the general fund reduction. He noted the balance of the other revenue that was reduced from the HSC fund was $179,000.
With regard to the Community Corrections, Clements noted in the supplemental budget book (under the Sheriff’s Office tab) it identifies a budget impact statement from a reduction of 26 beds for a total program expense of $472,000. He said by saving materials, services and personnel, they would lose $96,659 in revenue, with the net to the general fund of $375,666.
Clements explained if the 24/7 patrol is cut, they would lose them to the traffic team and they could start producing revenue that would be self-sustaining. He said if they are allowed to keep the 24/7 patrols that cost $451,000 in general fund monies, the question remains whether they would expand the traffic team. He indicated they had not asked for an authorization of a loan that would enable them to start it up to carry it forward and pay it back on revenue that is generated for over three years.
Garnick reported that the Veterans Services request would be for $26,340, the amount necessary to fund a half-time OA 2.
Green recommend that go back to Human Services so he and Hampton could work through the committee to try to get funds to help support that. With regard to Assessment and Taxation, Green recalled page 454 of the Strategic Plan, b 4) explained the leveraging of dollars. He reported after a meeting in Salem yesterday with the Department of Revenue, they found out that Lane County is not in compliance with the statute. He added their grant application was denied. He said that leaves a $179,000 gap to fill. He stated if they were to allocate $200,000, it would generate about $2 million. He said the state wasn’t willing to reduce the $179,000 fully, but they were willing to reduce it by $8,300 in materials, services, overtime and extra help.
Van Vactor noted the grant pays for a portion of the money.
Bartlett requested that the amount for LCARA be raised to $25,000. He indicated the City of Eugene has contracted with the County. He said they have not allocated any money for marketing the new licenses or adoption program. He added that Mike Wellington came before the Finance and Audit Committee to ask for only five percent of the net new licensing revenue to be allocated to the Spay and Neuter Clinic.
The Budget Committee discussed putting different items on the general fund needs final approval list. (Copy in the file).
Sorenson commented they could use the $3.7 million discretionary amount as an available resource.
Green supported a two-year reduction because if they don’t, they would be back at the table facing a $4.5 million deficit. He said they could take the one-year and use the time in the second year to do some strategic planning. He said he could move to adopt a one-year annual budget with a two-year reduction packet that would save them for next year.
MOTION: to move to adopt the budget as proposed that includes a two-year reduction package with $525,000 tentatively approved.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Crowell commented this was a statement that the Committee is committed to two years of financial stability as provided in the draft budget document.
Garnick recalled they have an additional $500,000 from departments from the general fund that could be allocated for resources. He said there was direction to re-direct CCA funding to the Sheriff’s Office to free up general fund money that could be used to fund other services. He indicated if they restored the A & T grant, it would give the assessor $180,700 and they would get approximately 36% of those funds back. He said that gave $59,000 that was previously cut. He noted there was a question about the LRAPA fine revenue. He passed out a report (copy in file) that showed over time the County had received anywhere from zero up to over $100,000, with an eight year average of $40,000. He noted there were a double-budgeted item for LCOG dues and that freed up $34,000 of general fund money. He explained on the list was the car rental tax of $875,000 for Parks.
Sorenson asked what would be lost if they swapped TRT and car rental tax with the Parks Department.
Wilson explained the way Lane Code is set up; there are two legal mandates that need to be met with Transient Room Tax. She indicated that one is a state statute and under the Lane Code transient room tax was split and the five percent is what had been used for the fairgrounds for capital. She noted that already has written into it a provision that during the budget process the Board could re-direct funds. She added because of state statute, any redirection of the money would have to be for tourism related persons. She indicated the three percent portion does not have that opportunity of being re-directed through the annual budget process; it would take a Lane Code change to do that. She explained that money out of the capital side is easier by the Board and money out of the 70-10-10-10 split is more difficult as it takes a code change. She added as long as it meets the definition of tourism under the state statute, they could do it.
The Budget Committee discussed adding the resources (copy in file).
Adjourned 9:55 p.m.