BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
LEADERSHIP TEAM MEETING
November 9, 2004
Goodson Room, Delta Highway, Public Works
Present: Dave Garnick, Bill Van Vactor, Bobby Green, Sr., Lisa Smith, Warren Wong, Ollie Snowden, Don Hampton, Bill Dwyer, Anna Morrison, Dave Crowell, Jim Gangle, David Suchart, Chuck Forster, Terry Wilson, Tony Black, Rob Rockstroh, Alicia Hays, Jan Clements, Kate O’Donnell, Francisca Johnson, Alex Gardner and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer.
1. Call Meeting to Order: Bobby Green, Sr., Chair
2. Approval of Minutes: July 27, 2004, Leadership Team Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
MOTION: to approve the Leadership Team Meeting of July 27, 2004.
Morrison MOVED, Rockstroh SECONDED.
3. Financial Forecast Update and Discussion:
Garnick discussed the Fin Forecast. He commented that they ended last year financially better than anticipated. He said they brought in an additional $3 million above what they had budgeted for. He stated they underspent $2.7 million for wages and $1.1 million for personal services.
Garnick noted there was $309,000 more in the general fund. He noted wages were down but the cost for benefits was higher. He added that PERS is going up 20% and they will have to make a rate adjustment.
Garnick indicated the retiree medical was being phased in at 5% by 05/06. He noted the previous actual assumption had a more modest growth. He noted last year grew by 22.37% and they are projecting from 14% to 20% for next year and 17.5% for the year after.
Garnick noted the benefit line was growing the most. He said in the fiscal transactions, the money for the Sheriff and the remodel was up $2 million extra going into the reserves to carry forward. He recommended a status quo budget for 06/07. He thought they should work on a Public Safety Service District for the November 2006 election so money would be available in 2007.
Snowden asked what happened to Moody’s requirement of a ten percent reserve.
Garnick responded that they achieved it last year and this year they didn’t build in the assumptions. Garnick indicated they never made a final decision on that and hadn’t heard anything from Moody’s.
Green asked what the downside of this approach would be throughout the organization if they want to stay the course.
Rockstroh responded that it would take longer to hire employees who are highly qualified.
Clements noted they borrowed $968,000 from the Community Corrections Committee fund to keep open 48 beds. He added they didn’t need to take money from the general fund discretionary funds.
Van Vactor indicated County Administration reduced time for Melinda Kletzok. He noted they have had a hard time keeping the Management Analyst position filled. He noted the jails were down by 119 beds and they were not prosecuting many crimes due to the absence of jail beds. He commented that Lane County has high property crimes and the impact at this current budget level had a lot to do with it.
Smith commented they are in a perpetual state of crisis. She noted the County funding issues with the state and feds make more dangerous kids in the community and they are just waiting for things to happen. She stated they had been relying on outside funds with long-term strategies.
Dwyer noted Lane County has 200 fewer employees than 20 years ago but those employees are now serving 35,000 more people. He said they have to figure out what to do. He commented that by doing more with less at this point in time, they can’t continue to maintain a good job. He said they are doing things they can control.
4. Service Stabilization Task Force Report Discussion
Green noted that page 12 was the essence of the work they did. He indicated one of the recommendations was to determine outcome priorities so the Board could have outcomes and not outputs. He said if they take that recommendation it could be a different situation that they have to maintain so they could do their jobs. He added where there are no personnel or funding they tend to get complaints.
Kate O’ Donnell recommended the Board put together another task force for revenue. She commented that the County needs more revenue and there wasn’t time to study those issues. She noted in the Strategic Plan the County has goals but they are not prioritized. They put together a chart on page 6 (Copy in file). She said the task force agreed on priorities, outcome goals and measures. She said the ones that ranked first and second were public safety and social services. She also said they discussed cultural and recreation services that were not on the list. She indicated they weren’t able to come to consensus to add that as a goal.
O’Donnell said there needed to be communication. She said if they prioritize they would have a good sense of how to communicate with the public. She said the recommendation is to put another task force together to study revenue. She said the County will have 32,000 residents within ten years and they won’t be able to maintain services. She said they have to determine what the meaning of general-purpose government is and what it should look like.
Green commented that Lane County would be a general-purpose government. He said they need revenue to help them continue. He noted the spread sheet with the assumptions and projections gives them time to accomplish some things the task force had articulated. He said they should review the mission statement to see if they are moving in the right direction.
Gary Steiner, Stabilization Task Force, thought they could come up with some savings. He commented that people don’t like taxes but if it could be proved that money is well spent, it would be a big selling point.
O’Donnell commented cooperation between jurisdictions is lacking and the public is frustrated with that. She thought if they came up with IGA’s with health insurance they could show people they were willing to cooperate.
Dwyer indicated in the Strategic Plan that communication is not up at the top. He said it was critical that communication is where everything begins. He said they need to keep up the communication when they are doing the budget.
Morrison commented how much they can get done will be paramount. She noted the number 2 recommendation on page 12 is in benefits. She added until they can agree on what they are going to do, the County will continue to have the same problems. With regard to Strategic Planning, it stated that Lane County was a general-purpose government. She wondered how long it would be that they would be able to continue that. She thought they should step back and not be a general-purpose government and provide in-depth services that the public wants. She has concerns they won’t be able to do that.
Dwyer stated he was not for reducing benefits. He wanted to control costs but they need to find a better way of increased services at lesser costs. He said they need to ask the people that question possibly through a charter amendment.
Clements commented if they want to remain competitive and attract good quality people, they need to look at the total compensation. He said they should be pushing the state and federal government as the needs are interjurisdictional and they should look at it more globally.
Green commented they have to convince the general public to use this as a tool to go forward.
5. Budget Process Debrief
a. Budget Committee Recommendations
Garnick reported in June 2004 they went through a budget debrief to see how people thought they were doing. He said they had a new process to bring new members and commissioners up to speed. He noted the citizen members of the Budget Committee commented they wanted to be involved earlier in the process. He said the committee thought the budget document was improved. He noted an area of disagreement was the question and answer section. He added fewer people were participating in that portion. He said the committee suggested if a new person wants information from a particular department that they contact that department directly.
Garnick indicated that the committee thought that public comment should be limited and carefully managed. He added they discussed the severity of the crisis should determine the length and amount of meetings. He said the department directors would offer different options of presentations.
With regard to money for the public, Dwyer said they needed to be honest with the agencies and not let them give a big presentation.
With regard to deliberations, Garnick noted the committee thought there wasn’t enough time to make a decision. He said they wanted a minimum of two to three days. He added if they do what the department directors are recommending (more time to discuss and less presentation time), they could build more time into the process to put in more deliberations.
With regard to setting priorities, Garnick said their recommendation is to follow the process of developing priorities up front and list what the impacts are and their outcomes. He added they said that communication was critical. He said they want to know how the Strategic Plan was followed, as it wasn’t uniformly applied. He said the committee wants more direction from Leadership Team on how the funds should be spent.
b. Dept. Director’s Recommendations
Gangle noted they had an ad hoc committee. He said they went through the debrief notes that the Budget Committee put together. He noted in October 2003 the department directors went through a process to identify what hadn’t worked in the previous years’ budget process. He added there were recommendations that came out of that and the Strategic Plan. He said they came up with five sections.
Gangle indicated the first section was a rework of the budget priorities. He said they didn’t think it was effective enough and they came up with service priorities. He added these would be based on policy choices made by the Board of Commissioners. He commented they couldn’t foresee every set of circumstances that could fit into a priority. He stated the services they identified were immediate response to life, health, safety matters and services that provide prevention services, mandated and lengthy core strategies.
With regard to service level, Gangle came up with desirable, basic, and minimal and the consensus was that all of the services in the county were at the minimal level.
Gangle noted what they thought would be important was an annual review of revenue sources and to look at Lane County’s situation and decide that if the situation is bad enough they should look at the County or legislatively change how revenue sources could be used.
Gangle explained that change in revenue occurs throughout the year and if grants go away that information should be relayed to budget staff. He said their proposal is to go back for budget priorities to public safety, public services and general government. He added they want the county administrator and budget manager to participate in those sections and each group will use the budget priorities in Section 1 as a process to go through. He noted at the conclusion the three areas will come together with a final recommendation.
6. Initial Budget Direction for FY 05-06
With regard to page 4, service information sheets, Gangle said they were resurrecting them to try to strike a balance with the amount of work it takes to put them together with the complexity of the department.
Gangle noted the current year budgets would be updated and adjusted for the proposed year. He said their recommendation is in Section 3 that will have the department directors look closely on the support service departments and the budget process. He said they proposed that the department directors would review the support services supplied to the County at the beginning of the budget process and make a recommendation for what they think is appropriate. He noted on the nights the departments are making presentations they don’t have public comment. He said they came up with two options. He said one option would be a standard presentation for all departments and option 2 would be a shorter version. He said they were looking for a work plan instead of a higher level of goals and objectives that have been identified.
Van Vactor recalled two years ago when the department had general fund in their budget they summarized all of the service information sheets and they agreed on a ranking and that is the way they prepared in the proposed budget. He asked if the Board and the Budget Committee want to be there to choose the ranking. He thought if they participated they would have a greater buy-in for the budget.
Green asked if the Budget Committee should be part of the process of the service information sheets.
Dwyer said he had no preference.
Crowell said he would be happy to be present, but the first year he thought the committee should listen and not inhibit the discussion.
Johnson thought it was important that they be there but didn’t want to make that a budget committee piece. She thought they should designate someone from the Budget Commission to participate.
Clements supported a public meeting so as many people are as willing to attend as a learning process and be involved. He wanted interactive questions and answers to happen sooner than later.
Arnold commented that certain things are being aligned with priorities. He said if the Board sets priorities, then the discussion will move in that direction. He added that last time they didn’t know what the priorities were but this time they were using different tools.
O’Donnell stated when looking to budgeting outcomes when pursuing the status quo, she asked how the discussion would take place when they are trying to set criteria. She suggested before any priorities are made to poll the public to see where the public is around which services are desired or what outcomes are achieved.
Clements commented the true way to reallocate is a zero based budget
Steiner said these meetings should be open and published. He said it would create the credibility that Lane County needs. He said they need to have a work session and be as up front as possible.
Green said everyone seems to support a meeting that is open and advertised. He thought prior to that meeting they should have an activity to bring them focused on the purpose of the meeting. He suggested a bowling activity with everyone paying their own expenses.
Van Vactor noted Option 1 for the presentation would be 50 minutes and Option 2 would be 90 minutes.
Crowell commented the more the Budget Committee is involved up front, the less time they have to spend on the back end. He recommended Option 1.
Green stated they would go with Option 1 and they could always extend the time as the Budget Committee requests.
Van Vactor suggested having something about outcomes.
Clements said they need to resolve the issue about revising the Strategic Plan before they decide what department strategies for allocating resources within the plan are.
Rockstroh claimed it was still hard to use the Strategic Plan to allocate things.
Green said they could try it and if they find it doesn’t work, they could go back to how they used to have the presentations.
Garnick reiterated they will do a support service review and they will review the discretionary review between now and January 11. He added the department directors need to develop core strategies and that will lead into what the service priorities are. He noted on January 11 he will make an update on the Fin Plan and could get the actual budget parameters.
7. Other Business: Next Leadership Team Meeting: Jan. 11, 2005, 9-Noon. FinPlan Update, Mid-Year Budget Correction, Set FY 05-06 Budget Parameters
Green recessed the meeting at 11:30 a.m.