LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

May 20, 2004

5:15 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 5/3/05

 

Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett Bill Dwyer; Bobby Green, Sr., Don Hampton, Mary Anne Holser,Francisca Johnson; Kathy Keable,Anna Morrison, and Peter Sorenson present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor; County Counsel Teresa Wilson,Senior Budget Analyst, Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. Committee Business

 

Approval of Minutes:

May 4, 2004

May 11, 2004

 

MOTION: to approve the minutes of May 4, 2004 and May 11, 2004.

 

Green MOVED, Hampton SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0 (Johnson, Bartlett out of room).

 

2. Public Comment

 

Karston Rasmussen, Circuit Court Judge, said he is on the Supervisory Authority Team.He explained it is an effort by the Board of Commissioners to ensure that the executive and judicial branches of government communicate well regarding the Community Corrections Program.He said they have been in a program called the Defender/Offender Management Center.He added they have been conservative with community corrections dollars.He commented the DOMC has saved almost $1 million for the Sheriffís Office.He noted $289,000 allocated for treatment is being diverted for other purposes.He is worried that if they have a lesser treatment component than in yearís past, they will be out of balance and there will be other impacts.

 

Mary Jo Sanders, stated she is a therapist at Pathways.She read a letter into the record about a family member at Pathways.She asked the Board not to eliminate the Pathways program.

 

Opal Nelson, said she is a grandmother of a Pathways graduate.She spoke about her grandson who was at Pathways and how well he did after he graduated.†† She thought treatment was the answer and that is what is going to benefit them the most.

 

Eve Piper, 4130 Wilhi, said her son had completed Pathways.She commented they design their program to help teenagers.She added that Pathways turned her son around and that Pathways needed to continue.

 

Stacey Bierma, 2815 High St., Eugene, spoke on the Buckley Center.She commented it costs more money to put people into jails than for hospitals.She said that people who get treatment get better, and the others just keep going back through the system and costs taxpayers money.

 

Hilary Wylie, Director of Willamette Family Treatment Services, indicated there are three programs of theirs that are in jeopardy: Buckley House, Sobering Station and Womenís Correction Beds.She said they get $56,000 for Womenís Correction.She commented the state budget cuts in the past two years have almost decimated treatment services in the community.She said they have lost different services.She thought in a tight budget time they should be looking at treatment instead of jail.She said if she loses Buckley Center money, she would lose $200,000 in additional research money on HIV and drug adduction.She didnít want the Board to cut the Buckley House.

 

Frank Gibson, 1244 Courtney Place, Eugene, Board Member of Willamette Family Treatment Centers, commented that Buckley was cheaper than jail beds.He noted that Buckley is part of a solution for the jail.He thought it was important to review what Buckley House does for the community.He noted the County and Willamette Family Treatment have been in a partnership and he wanted it to continue.

 

Franklin Burk, 1665 Oak Patch, Eugene, stated he was a client at the Buckley Center.He said if it wasnít for the Buckley Center, he would have not been able to get into treatment.

 

Susan Richards, Lane County Drug Treatment Program, 135 E. 6th Avenue, Eugene, spoke on behalfof the Willamette Family Treatment Services and the Buckley Center.She reiterated on the partnership with Buckley House and coordination of services with the County.

 

Kathy Smith, 251 S. 25th, Springfield, urged the Board to keep the doors to Buckley Center open.She believed if Buckley Center is closed, the strain of other community resources (including local law enforcement agencies and hospital emergency rooms) will exceed the financial amount to keep the doors at Buckley open.She commented that Buckley is one of the gateways to recovery.

 

Sister Barbara Haase, 2214 Ridgeway, Eugene, stated she works at Sacred Heart Medical Center.She commented that the Johnson Unit at Sacred Heart is full and that is the only place a patient can be placed when they are not in control of themselves.She added a patient in the Johnson Unit costs taxpayers $919 per day. She asked the Board to not cut the Buckley House.

 

Janette Overholser, 30300 Lorane Road, Cottage Grove, stated she volunteers at the Humane Society.She commented that LCARA must receive adequate funding to help the animal officers as well as the facilities. She stated that all serial killers have had animal abuse in their background.

 

Vicky Sytsma, 3821 Doug Lane, stated she is a graduate of Willamette Family Treatment Services and it totally changed her life.

 

Larry Weinerman, 2891 Central Blvd., commented that the treatment system is out of balance.He said they could handle a nine percent cut but he indicated the system is now broken.

 

Kari Westlund, 87855 Misty Lane,Veneta, stated she is the President of the Convention and Visitors Association of Lane County.Shesaid the dollars that are allocated to CVALCO amount to 22 cents for each dollar that comes to the County in room taxes.She said of the $5 million that is brought in, over 22% is re-invested in the marketing process to bring money into the economy.She explained that last year every dollar that was given to them to spend brought $50 back to the local economy.She said that provided $7,500 jobs for people throughout Lane County.She noted that currently visitors spend $473 million in Lane County.She indicated they would receive none of the new statewide room tax.She thought there would be more visitors coming to Oregon.She stated it was her job to make sure they come to Lane County and they need an allocation of local room tax to make sure they are capturing those new visitors to the state.She said there needs to be public safety and human services programs and they need to make sure they have money that is flowing back into other programs.She wanted to make sure they were leveraged to help the economy and the Countyís overall expenditures.

 

Bea Morrison said she works for White Bird, Shelter Care and Cahoots.She indicated she works with people who fall through the cracks in society.She commented if Buckley closes, then she didnít know where her clients would be taken to.

 

Norman Riddle, 1238 Crest Drive, said he is a case manager at White Bird Clinic.He said a majority of his time is spent working with people on the street in various states of emotional distress.He said people donít want to see the services go away.He commented that the Buckley staff is underpaid and overworked.

 

Diana Robertson, 1416 Santa Rosa St., spoke on adequate funding for LCARA so they could continue to perform their important public safety and animal control functions.

 

John Fentress, stated he supported the Buckley House.He said he is a graduate of Buckley House and he is a professional.He commented that addiction is a disease state and can strike anyone like any other disease.He was grateful for what Buckley did to him and to the community.

 

John Nilsen, 695S. 44th, Springfield, stated he is a retired Parole and Probation officer who worked for the County for 26 years.He commented that treatment dollars are better spent than incarceration dollars.

 

Jim Johnson, President of Friends of Lane County Historical Museum,, 740 W. 13th, noted the Museum is funded by transient room tax dollars.He gave the history of the museum. He stated the museum belongs to Lane County government as per the trust agreement. He noted the building belongs to the County and a non-profit operates the museum.He noted since 1993 they have not come to Lane County to ask for money.He said they were taken out of the general fund.He said they went to a non-profit model instead of a government model.

 

Jill Winans, 29351 Gimple Hill, Euene, said she is a board member of the Stray Cat Alliance and volunteers with the Eugene Feral Cat Coalition.She was against the re-opening of the cattery at LCARA.She said the addition of personnel and cages at LCARA would not solve Lane Countyís cat problem.She thought the only plan worth pursuing was a countywide spay and neuter program.She said the Stray Cat Alliance is bringing the Oregon Neutermobile to Eugene for 24 days in July and August.She said it is a program that costs $20,000 to get on the road and has a yearly budget of $125,000.She said with this program they could offer anyone with proof of public assistance a $10 spay or neuter for their dog or cat.

 

Peter Oí Rourke, Regional Manager, Oregon Liquor Control Commission, passed out a fact sheet. (Copy in file.)He commented that the cut to the District Attorneyís officeand the cut to his budget would impact the Liquor Control Commission and their regulation of the Liquor Control Act in Lane County.He said it would have a significant impact because they will not be able to cite 90% of the criminal citations in Lane County.He thought the biggest impact is in revenue sharing and how it would affect the County.He said the funding would be reduced because they wonít be able to perform their programs that generate some of the money.

 

Ron Petitti, Mayor, City of Creswell, spoke on the rural tourism marketing program.He said they get a 15% return on investment to their community and it is important to the economic vitality and the tourism industry for rural small communities.He asked for the Boardís consideration.

 

Ross Penhallogen, OSU Extension Service, 950 W. 13th Ave, stated the OSU Extension provides unbiased research based education information to the people of Lane County.††† He noted in 2003 they had over 1,833,000 people contacting them.He added they deal with master gardeners with over 29,000 gardening questions per year.He said they provide nutrition information.He indicated it costs less than 30 cents per contact.He commented without the Extension Service, the question is going to be who will answer the 33,550 questions that come into the extension office.

 

Lisa Hinman, Office Manager, OSU Extension Service, explained the Extension Service found that the cost to Lane County per contact is 30 cents.She added with that 30 cents, a customer contact could equal a 20 minute discussion with a Lane County Extension staff member, or a dollar or more in research based information and materials. She said there is different information that is helpful for children, adults and senior citizens.She noted the Extension Service networks with other local agencies such as Food for Lane County and the school districts.

 

John Lipkin, 3815 Spring Blvd, stated he is the medical director for behavior health at Sacred HeartHe stated the funding for Buckley House is critical.He noted they are out of room at the Johnson unit.He said they are overrun in the emergency department and the Johnson unit on a regular basis and they are sending people all over the state when there are no local beds available.

 

Jeff Morton, 93109 Powerline Road, supported CVALCO.He said he runs the Quality Inn and Days Inn.He wanted to see CVALCOís funding go back into the community.He commented his industry took a hit after September 11.He said it was important to maintain the investment with CVALCO and understand the return they give in light of what is happening with Albany and Salem and how they are building and marketing things.

 

Bob Still, 83076 N. Bradford, didnít want the Budget Committee to take away from the dog community what they will be putting into LCARA.He said they are working on trying to solve the cat problem.

 

Connie Kulick, 2663 Ridgemont, Eugene, stated she is a nurse in the Emergency Room at Sacred Heart.She spoke in favor of Pathways as she saw the improvement with children.She asked the Budget Committee to keep Pathways open as it is important to the community.

 

3. Budget Deliberations

 

Green commented that he was the longest serving member on the Budget Committee.With regard to public comment, he said he didnít hear anything about going out for a revenue measure.He said they left it open for citizens to do that where the Board would have the authority and obligation to put a measure on.He stated that there is a structural problem but he didnít hear how it was going to be fixed.He noted the message from the County Administrator has been that they live within their means.He said they have to establish some direction to fix the structural problem.He didnít think they were reviewing the level of services the way they could.He asked the Board to establish a service stabilization task force, a group that would review how they would stabilize their services.He asked in the interim period, if they are still committed to the one-year budget with a two-year reduction approach, they could use the time to address the issues and then come up with options.

 

Dwyer said they canít continue to grow expenses at 25% and revenue at 5% and expect to provide current service levels.He commented many of the programs are already anemic and they canít endure further cuts.He stated that law enforcement related service is taking a larger portion of the general fund.He said they are going to have to consider taking law enforcement out of the general fund and have a law enforcement district that is not a levy, but a permanent fixed rate that could be determined.He added it would provide the service that would free up general fund money so they could provide preventive community resources that are necessary to keep the community whole.He said they were going to try to make progress toward their prudent person reserve so the bond rating wouldnít be at risk.He didnít think they needed to do it at such an accelerated rate as they first thought.He said there are no guarantees that Moodyís would do anything.He added if the budget picture doesnít change within two years, they won't be able to increase the reserve because the problem would be worse.He suggested increasing the contribution to the reserve half of what they had planned to do and make a commitment to find a way out of the problem so Moodyís knows they are making an effort to address the long term stability of county government.He thought by doing that they could have an additional $1.2 in funding for services.

 

Sorenson agreed in having a task force make a decision on a review of their previous task force.He wanted to adopt the base budget that was on the pink sheet.He wanted to take the list of proposed revenue options of $500,000 in cuts, re-direct CCA funding, transfer the self-insurance fund, intergovernmental services fund, A&T grant, LRAPA fine revenue and LCOG dues, totaling $1.2 million.He thought that would bring in an additional $1.2 million above the current base budget.He said to spend the money, he would look to the information that shows the amount of money that is leveraged if they put general fund dollars into particular budgets.He said the District Attorney would leverage $3 million for the $575,000 they would put in.He noted the Pathways program of $328,000 leverages $301,000.He said if they put in the $188,000 for A&T, it would leverage $2 million.He wanted to create a limited purpose rural assistant board contingency to help the rural communities with the clinics that would obviate the need to put $400,000 into rural health clinics.He said if it turned out they didnít need the money (and it would be available), the Board could shift it over to a rural patrol for rural law enforcement, giving the full coverage in the rural areas outside of the Eugene Springfield metro area.He said there would be $1.2 million in additional resources, with $1.5 million in additional expenditures.He noted they currently have a $3.7 million prudent person reserve established in the base budget.He noted the proposed budget reserve is $6.1 million.He said instead of having a $3.7 million reserve, they would have a $5.8 million prudent person reserve.He thought they could make substantial progress in building a higher reserve.He said the need to drop any program is untenable from their vantage point.

 

Holser didnít think a task force going over the same subjects would do any good.She said they couldnít come to an agreement as to what a top priority was.She thought the request should be to look at a different perspective.She thought unless the public understood better what they did, they would have to become a limited government.

 

Morrison concurred with what Green was putting forward but she had apprehensions.She noted there is a lack of commitment to follow through.She said she took part in the Strategic Planning and thought it would give direction in good and bad times.She commented they donít always follow what is in front of them.She said in December they had a chance to make change but there was a lack of commitment.She stated the public has taken notice of the actions the Board makes and they donít like the decisions that are being made and how the money is being spent.

 

Hampton liked Sorensonís ideas as a starting point.He thought there was a lack of guarantee of rural services.He didnít think that the rural areas would pass any initiatives.He said early on he wanted to do a one-year budget.He agreed with a task force to help create a philosophy.He thinks the Board needs to review the Strategic Plan to see if it is what they really want to follow.He commented that the reason the Strategic Plan was not being followed was because it wasnít a valid document andit didnít mean the same thing to all people.

 

Johnson thought there was benefit for a task force to review the issues.She thought they should study different options and look at opportunities that havenít been reviewed yet.

 

Bartlett thought the task force would be okay.He wanted to see how they could do things better.

 

Dwyer suggested only contributing half as much for the reserve .He said they needed to maintain law enforcement and social services in rural areas.He wanted to put more money into rural areas.

 

Crowell commented the solution to the long-term problem is a long-term solution.He said it would take dedication, commitment and focus.He said the Board has to make it their number one priority until the job gets done.

 

Holser hoped the task force could find a better way to fix the structural problems.

 

Sorenson worked out figures to end up with a prudent person reserve of $3.7 million.

 

Dwyer suggested changes where the prudent person reserve would be $4.9 million, with the balance to be put into resources so they could fund the rural clinics.

 

Sorenson noted for the restoration side he wanted DA, criminal prosecution, Pathways, A&T and LCARA.He created a new category called limited purpose rural assistance board contingency with $408,000 for the Cottage Grove and Oakridge clinics.He envisioned that the limitation on the fund would be that it could only be used for either rural health clinics or rural law enforcement.

 

With regard to the Rural Health Clinics, Karen Gillette, Health and Human Services, reported the concern this year is to try to cut back.She stated they were thinly staffed and if there was one person out, they couldnít open the clinic.She added it supports the WIC program as well as public health for services around immunization and family planning, but not around primary care.

 

Dwyer thought they should take more from the reserve.He said if they are making a good faith effort to increase the reserve at a time when they are making multi-million dollar cuts, they should be committed to find long term solutions in terms of restructuring.He said instead of $300,000, he would rather have it a $1.1 million and then everything could stay on the needs list.

 

Hampton wanted a guarantee that the services would still exist if the private providers could do it.

 

4. Possible Decision and Motions to Approve FY 2004-2005 Budget

 

MOTION: to move approval of the entire FY 2004-2005 Budget for all funds with all technical adjustment, additions and or reductions previously agreed to.

 

Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

Garnick explained the technical adjustments on page 34. (Copy in file.)

 

Crowell explained that Sorensonís motion included the rural contingency fund, that if that does not get used for rural health clinics, then it goes back into the contingency fund.

 

Sorenson indicated that it could only be allocated by the Board for the purposes of the two line items that were involved and if doesnít go into that, it goes into the reserve and cannot be used by the Board as a general contingency.

 

MOTION: to end debate.

 

VOTE: 8-2 (Crowell and Sorenson).

 

MOTION: 10-0.

 

MOTION: to move approval of the FY 04/05 permanent tax rate of $1.2793 per $1,000 of assessed value and the Juvenile Justice Center General Obligation Bond tax levy in the amount of $2,634,568.

 

Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 10-0.

 

Wong indicated the explanation for the fairgrounds is to allow up to $250,000 of the excess transient room tax to be used for operating purposes in the operating budget.He said that is the differential on health insurance and PERS.He said they would try to limit the transfer to about $200,000.He said the money would fund the increase in stormwater fees that the City of Eugene has imposed on the fairgrounds.He added that they would earmark about $125,000 toward building up the cash reserve that the Board approved last June and if there is an operating deficit, the money would be used for that.††† He explained this year they set up a $125,000 reserve and drew $67,000 of that because the fair didnít meet its budgeted target.He said $57,000 is left and he wanted to put it into the operating budget to start the cash reserve.He noted currently the excess TRT expires in FY07 by board order.He noted a suggestion is to extend the term limit so they have the ability to book beyond FY07.

 

Van Vactor concurred with Wongís recommendation except for the last one.He didnít recommend the Budget Committee make a long term commitment until they complete the Tourism Infrastructure Task Force.

 

Green supported a one-time annual appropriation.He wanted to have a discussion on an annual basis versus having a document that they were committed to.

 

Wilson said a discussion and recommendation needs to take place on the fairgrounds when they adopt the budget.She added it will be presented with a board order to adopt it for one year.She said they would do that for the operational use of the $40,000 for the Florence Events Center.

 

MOTION: to move approval of using up to $250,000 oftransient room tax to be allocated to the operation budget plus the balance remaining of $57,000 and a minimum repayment of $50,000 in the planetarium loan.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 10-0.

 

Garnick indicated at the end of the packet there were three add packages that were self funding.He said it was included in the motion to adopt the budget.

 

Johnson expressed her disappointment that they were not able to add their domestic violence advocate back.

 

Adjourned at 9:00 p.m.