LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

May 4, 2004

5:15 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 5/20/2004

 

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.

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

 

Chair David Crowell called the meeting to order.

 

II. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

 

Crowell commented that they needed to give staff direction on how much discussion on budget priorities they are going to have on May 18 and May 20.  He said if they are going to have a broader discussion, they need to tell staff to have that discussion.

 

Dwyer said that things change and the PSCC made decisions that tried to help the Budget Committee’s decision.  He said they should spend money on the priorities.

 

Morrison noted they haven’t defined priorities and what to fund.

 

Green commented that whatever gets funded becomes a priority.  He wanted to establish priorities.  He wasn’t in favor of keeping the nine percent across the board cuts, once they move money from one department to the other.    He stated they had the criteria set out in the Strategic Plan and they could use that as a starting point.

 

Sorenson was interested in the Pathways program.  He added that public safety is a big part of the budget and it could be defined in a number of ways.  He was disappointed that Pathways would be cut unless they take affirmative action.  He also wanted to look at the car rental tax with one airline serving Eugene versus two major airlines serving Eugene.  He thought there was a difference in what had been budgeted and what would come in.  He thought that money could be appropriated to fund Pathways or to add to the reserve.  He was also concerned about Veterans Services.

 

Dwyer wanted all general fund money put in one pot.  He noted when they took across- the-board cuts, CVALCO didn’t take a nine percent cut.  He said they have to discuss priorities.

 

Hampton wanted a review of all the general fund money at one time.  He suggested  doing a budget for one year instead of two.  He thought they needed to take longer to do prioritizing.

 

Garnick passed out a current budget for each program. (Copy in file).

 

Dwyer wanted asterisks to indicate which programs were mandated.  He said they couldn’t eliminate programs that were mandated.

 

Green asked at what level they fund the program so it meets the mandate.

 

Sorenson said if they took a harsh look at County government, it is not public safety; it is hard-core law enforcement.  He said he would take discretionary money to spend on Pathways.

 

Crowell thought the Budget Committee wanted to have a broader discussion than the CAO recommendation on where the County is spending money.

 

Bartlett thought they needed more Sheriff’s deputies.

 

Garnick noted that everything that has come to the Board was either built in or had an add package.

 

Crowell recommended that the departments bring back this information for the meeting on May 13.

 

Holser wanted a list of the amounts that have been restored, such as the 48 beds or any other amounts that had been restored through technical adjustments or unanticipated money.

 

Garnick responded the only amounts were $1 million in the Sheriff’s Office that was built in, $93,000 for the District Attorney recommended for a medical examiner, with  additional money from the E-Board for treatment from  SB 1145 dollars.

 

With regard to the creation of a subcommittee, Crowell indicated that Sorenson stated he was in agreement with creating a subcommittee of the Budget Committee to operate if they fall under a six-person quorum.  He asked how they get to that point legally.

 

Wilson said they currently have a public meeting that had been duly noticed.  She said if they reach a point where it looks like they would lose a quorum, she recommended that before they lose their quorum, the chair appoint those who will remain as a subcommittee for the purpose of hearing the information presented and collecting the information.  She said at the start of the subsequent budget committee meeting, a brief report on what was discussed (a committee report) should take place and they could continue.  She advised that if the subcommittee takes action, it does so only as a subcommittee in terms of its recommendation to the full committee.  She noted the subcommittee action is not the full committee action and any action would be as a full committee.

 

III. YOUTH SERVICES

 

Lisa Smith, Director Youth Services, gave a presentation.  (Copy in file).  She indicated they have 72.35 FTE for the complete department with 51.84 in the general fund and 20.51 under state and federal grants.  She noted they have 32 detention beds with capacity for 96, seven shelter beds for boys with capacity for 21, eight residential beds for drug and alcohol treatment for boys with capacity for 21.  She said they have a 138-bed capacity and are operating at only 30 percent of that capacity, or 47 beds.  She added that only detention is available for girls with their local resources.

 

Smith said they are dealing with a $617,000 general fund reduction, but the full extent for the Department of Youth Services’ for the 2004/2005 includes soft money and is over $1 million.  She said they are cutting 3 FTE: one juvenile councilor, two supervisor positions, and the elimination of Pathways with the eight residential drug and alcohol beds.

 

Sorenson left at 6:45 p.m.

Hampton left at 6:55 p.m.

 

Dee Williams and Mary Swindling also gave presentations. 

 

Smith commented they have a good reputation in the community and the state for the services they provide.

 

Linda Wagner, Department of Youth Services, gave a presentation on Youth Services.

 

Green wanted to know what the trend would show around the risk factors they focus on.

 

Wagner said they have a validated risk assessment tool that is a 21-point scale.  She noted that those who score 14 or higher have a 75 percent chance that they will commit a crime in 12 months.

 

Green thought that was where they should be putting the funds.

 

Wagner said the return on their investment is reduced victimizations.

 

With regard to performance measures, Wagner explained that it was a trend.  She said the program level lets them look at how they are breaking up the pattern or crime.  She added it wasn’t limited to recidivism.  She commented to look at one trend doesn’t tell enough in hard time of making difficult decisions.  She said they have to look at the number of kids and cost per kid and cost benefit.  She said she looked at cost benefit research analysis to help her determine the cost of a juvenile crime.

 

Francisca Johnson arrived at 7:40 p.m.

 

With regard to Pathways, Wagner indicated the one-year cost for the number of youths is $17,000 per youth.  She noted that after two years crime reduction is 77.4 percent.  She noted the cost was $585,000 or $20,000 per after two years.

 

Wagner noted for evaluation, they spent less than one percent of their budget to tell the Board what they did with the other 99 percent.  She said it cost them $20,000 to get the program.  She indicated it was a one-time payment.  She said they used IS and it cost them $44 per hour.  She said a private company would have cost $145.

 

Smith noted the programs serve different kids.  She said the programs are avoiding future expensive costs.  She noted they looked at a number of other options.  She said in Pathways they incorporated the shelter program into the Pathways Program so they could share the administrative costs.  She said they increased the number of youths served and reduced the cost per youth from $32,000 to $17,000.  She commented there are not as many federal grants as there used to be.  She added the money is also not there through the state.  She said they would be strategic when they apply for the grants.  She indicated that after the extensive review process, their recommendation is the elimination of one juvenile councilor position, elimination of two supervisor positions and the elimination of the remaining eight drug and alcohol beds at Pathways.  She added that next year they would be eliminating 11 more FTE.  She noted they would have lost one-third of their supervisory staff.  She stated with the elimination of Pathways that approximately 30 boys wouldn’t be able to receive critical treatment resources.

 

Smith indicated that the only add package in this year’s budget is the one they submitted on behalf of Pathways.  She requested this in the context of the $490,000 that is at the Budget Committee’s discretion to add back.  She wasn’t asking the Budget Committee to take it from another department’s budget.  She wanted that consideration from the discretionary fund.

 

Hampton and Sorenson returned at 7:55 p.m.

 

IV.  HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET

 

Rob Rockstroh, Department Manager, Health & Human Services, reported his department is broad and gets a small amount of general fund.

 

Dwyer left at 8:20 p.m.

 

Rockstroh passed out information on his presentation.  (Copy in file).  He reported the proposed FTE is 267.89 with a $75,000,000 budget.  He added it is 55 percent contracted out for services.  He noted with the nine percent cut, because he has levels that are decreasing and costs that are increasing, his $167,000 from the net general fund has jumped to $1.5 million cut.  He added it was on top of the $8 million cut they had last year.

 

Rockstroh reported they have lost over 55 positions over the past two years, primarily in mental health.  He stated he was in favor of the $1 million shift in correction funding.  He explained with the state’s best practice, the state would make shifts in funding.

 

Rockstroh stated they see 1,450 adults and children with developmental disabilities.  He said the basic needs for food and shelter is about $45,400.  He noted Parole and Probation has over 3,000 felony and 400 misdemeanor defenders each month. 

 

Rockstroh said they used the Strategic Plan to have the money go to public health where there is communicable disease that could be considered critical to life, health, and safety, and it can’t be spent in the public health clinic.  He said if they get to the point where Parole and Probation stays it should be entitled to the general fund.

 

Linda Eaton, Health and Human Services, discussed supervision of treatment services.  She said the services for parole and probation include supervision, sanctions, investigative services and specialized services.  She noted that drugs were their biggest category along with burglary and assault.  She noted the average caseload for Lane County is 98 per officer, whereas the statewide average was 75.

 

Al Levine, Mental Health, reported that Mental Health Services has suffered cuts the past couple of years.  He added the state cut all of the crisis funding and made cuts to the Oregon Health Plan.  He noted with the defeat of Measure 28, approximately 9,000 individuals lost their mental health and chemical dependency benefits.  He added they also experienced cuts in all of the general fund categories to the state that allowed them to serve indigents.  He noted the County general fund allowed them to continue service for many of the indigent clients.  He said with the elimination of retroactive eligibility, the Psychiatric Hospital received no payment for saving the same clients.  He noted all of the changes led to closure of the Lane County Psychiatric Hospital. He said they had a large loss of staff.  He said they have higher caseloads and with higher caseloads, they are thinning the services out.  He said that fewer fees are generated.  He noted that each mental health specialist raises about half of their cuts in fees.  He added when staff is cut, the revenue stream is also cut.

 

Levine said they are serving about 250 clients over the course of a year.  He said the state has since restored some of the cuts they made in the indigent care funds and in the crisis funds.  He stated they did not add back a lot of the staff.  He said they were hesitating to spend the money because he was not sure of the deficit with the closure of the psychiatric hospital.  He said with the reduction in staff and downsizing, they put the child and adult clinic together to take advantage of the combined business support pool

 

With regard to the psychiatric hospital, Levine noted it was costing the County about $70,000 a year beyond the funds available and they decided it was time to cut their losses and close the hospital and put the money into developing alternatives.  He noted the general fund that had gone into the psychiatric hospital is still going to be used for acute care services.  He said the County is still obligated under ORS 426 to pay for indigent acute in-patient psychiatric care.  He noted that Lane County residents who don’t have insurance who land in the psychiatric hospital are the County’s responsibility.  He said they still have to use the state money they get for that purpose and some county general fund to manage the liability exposure for the county.  He said they are going to have to purchase beds at the Johnson Unit.  He said they want to make the best use of the local beds they can by developing a discharge plan with the treating providers at the Johnson unit and bringing the person out as quickly as possible with a high level of community based intensive services.

 

Betsy Meredith, Public Health, explained that Lane County protecting the community from TB is the single most consistently labor intensive effort of the communicable disease program.  She noted the current clients with active disease are in pre-schools, colleges, factories, homeless shelters and rural communities.  She indicated the state provides them with $12,000 yearly and the County general fund provides 53 percent of communicable disease funding, including TB management.

 

Meredith stated Public Health provides prevention and treatment services with over 12,000 shots in the past 12 months. She noted the future of Public Health includes work to reduce the spread of STDs.  She added they deal with issues of emerging diseases, development of policies and response capacity for emerging diseases like SARS, pandemic flu and West Nile Virus.  She noted there was an area of concern around funding for the Lane County seven steps West Nile Virus Plan that was adopted last year.  She said that early in the plan it specified that Lane County would collect and identify mosquito species and ecologically sensitive areas.  She said the steps must be done before proceeding with vector control efforts.  She expected the West Nile Virus would appear in Lane County.

 

With regard to the Public Health Branch office closures, Meredith said they are making progress on expanding where Public Health makes available state supplied vaccine and provides education and administrative support and an accountability process for immunizations.  She said that East Lane County residents could access immunizations at the Lakeside Clinic that is a federally qualified rural health center in Dexter.  She noted on May 27 they will be meeting with the Oakridge Health Providers and LIPA that expects services will be provided and the collaboration will result in affordable services. She indicated there was one health care provider interested in the Cottage Grove clinic.  She said it was their objective to have those services available in all three areas by the end of the summer.  She also noted there were public and private opportunities for family planning.  She indicated that Lane County Public Health has had discussions with both health associates in Florence and with Planned Parenthood as potential providers for family planning care.  She said that Planned Parenthood has expressed an interest and has identified a local qualified practitioner.  She added that in East Lane County, Lakeside Clinic in Dexter is already providing family planning care and would consider becoming a family planning expansion project.  She said they might be able to give administrative support to help private rural clinics to provide services.  She stated in Cottage Grove that public health would like be able to assist the health care providers establish community based family planning care.  She added that Planned Parenthood has expressed interest in opening a clinic in Cottage Grove.  She noted that County funds were proposed to be eliminated from the family planning program and that did not mean they were closing the services. She said with Title 10 and Oregon Health Plan funds they would continue to provide family planning care in their office.  She added that receipt of Title 10 funds require that they not turn anyone away for family planning care due to inability to pay.  She said as the only Title 10 agency in the County, they remain the only affordable provider of family planning for 40 percent of their clients.

 

Steve Manela, Human Services Commission, explained they try to use the resources they receive from Lane County and others to try to leverage dollars and be creative with the ways they address issues in the community.  He noted the Human Services Commission has four separate divisions:  energy and conservation services, housing services, the community health centers, and the Veteran’s Services Division.  He said they have 38,000 vets who are in need of services.  He said the mission is trying to serve these people with positive outcomes, they tried to get together with community partnerships that address this.  He said they try to take federal funding and go after opportunities to go after federal grants that would give them a base of funding so that they could leverage local, state and other private contributions.  He said they had been able to get local utilities, hospitals and school districts to provide some support for the program leveraging the dollars and try to be creative to move forward for the future.  He noted that 94 percent of the funding they receive goes for direct services and only six percent goes toward administrative expenses.

 

Manela noted that the cities of Eugene and Springfield have proposed increases in their funding for HSC.  He said the cut to HSC is $21,734 in the County budget.  He said they have had a reduction of revenue for the HSC.  He noted they have lost over $400,000 in flexible funds over the past two years.  With the Veteran’s program they lost $18,000 in Tile 19 Medicaid funding.  He said they kept the general fund at the same levels as last year.  He said they had a reduction in the amount of billable Medicaid funding.

 

Manela said the key decisions for their budget reductions were supporting programs that increased the leverage of outside resources; supporting programs with guaranteed added value items.  They have been eliminating duplication of effort and maximizing the resources.

 

With regard to the Veteran’s Program, Manela explained they were eliminating a half-time OA position in the Veteran’s Program as a result of reduction in revenue from Medicaid and the increase in the cost of personnel.  He said that means he will lose an additional $5,000 of Medicaid funding.  He noted they are at a point where the expenses are more than the revenue.  He said they were keeping in place the infrastructure so they can build back the program.

 

Rockstroh commented that Lane County’s highest funded priority would be those services that are effective in addressing the immediate and critical life and health safety needs of the citizens.  He added that priorities will be guided by the immediacy to life and health safety and the long-term service provides.  He said for prevention services, early intervention should be a higher priority than later intervention.

 

Sorenson asked what the difficulty was in getting Medicaid reimbursement.

 

Manela responded that the standard the federal government is using for Medicaid claims for the veteran’s program has changed.  He said it was established by a survey that was done by the Vietnam Veterans of America and subsequently the Department of Human Services changed the way the program worked.   He said it was outside their control.  He said there is $22,500 budgeted for next year and $40,000 budgeted in this current year.

 

V. ADJOURN

 

Garnick passed out the materials for the next meeting.  He noted they have an Information Services notebook that replaces the material in the packet.  He reminded the Budget Committee that they had to fill out the discretionary general fund work sheet and bring it back.

 

Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 10:15 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary