JOINT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS/
FLORENCE AND DUNES CITY COUNCIL MEETING
October 12, 2004
Florence Events Center, 715 Quince Street, Florence
Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Don Hampton, Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Assistant County Counsel Stephen Vorhes and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
Others Present: Todd Winter, Dianne Burch, Emily Jerome, Linda Sarnoff, Barbara Miller, Ron Miller, Nan Osban, Tony Bieda, John Buchanan, Jan Clements, Ollie Snowden, Joanne Hickey, Christy Lewis, Marilyn Miller, Rob Ward, Sally Wanz, Gerald Hamilton, Bob Snedden, Phil Brubaker, Wendy Farley, Kevin Rhodes, William Fleenor, Arolf Salo, Rodger Bennett and Alan Burns.
City of Florence Business
Mayor Alan Burns explained before the Florence City Council is the Safety Net Timber Payments are letters to federal officials requesting their support and reauthorizing the Safety Net Timber payments.
Brubaker MOVED, Osban SECONDED.
Burns stated the letters would go out to Senator Smith and Senator Wyden and Congressman De Fazio.
1. DISCUSSION/Public Safety District.
Green explained that Lane County is planning to put out a public safety district in front of the voters for November 2006. He recalled the Board formed a Service Stabilization Task Force to analyze if the County could live within its means. He noted the County had a huge gap in its financial structure. He indicated that even if the Secure Rural Schools Act is reauthorized in 2006, they still have challenges. He noted that public safety is 70% of the general fund budget. He said when they have a deficit in Lane County that they are trying to make up, public safety takes the largest hit. He commented that Lane County had not been successful in going in front of the public to ask for support for their efforts. He said they want the public to decide how they want their public safety. He indicated they need the support of all of the cities. He added they would need a resolution from the cities to allow them to do that.
Van Vactor reported that Oregon used to be a tax based system where local government had a tax base and it would grow by six percent per year. He said the problem now is they have growth of six percent but the revenue is only three percent. He said due to Ballot Measure 5 and Measures 47 and 50, their tax rate is frozen. He stated that Lane County’s tax rate is locked in at $1.27. He thought a district would be the only option left where the citizens have the opportunity at the local level to create a new permanent fix for specific services. Van Vactor said they recommended to the Board a formation of the district. He said that they need to work with each city council.
Jan Clements, Sheriff, gave a presentation on the jails. He reported the Sheriff’s Office is close to 50% of the general fund. He said they do not have all the countywide services as it relates to the criminal justice system: they don’t have enough District Attorneys to prosecute the crimes, not enough youth correctional capacity and not enough Parole and Probation officers. He commented that if they move to a public safety district, they could provide for a level of prosecution that citizens want. He added what they suffer from in the unincorporated areas in Lane County is a lack of rural patrol. He commented that police officers are only as effective as the ability to prosecute, sentence and sanction and hold people responsible. He reported the money for a public safety district is dedicated, could not be used for anything else and is permanent. He said they would have to change the Metro Plan to remove the hurdles if they choose to put a public safety district on the ballot. He noted the earliest it could be placed on the ballot is November 2006. He said the citizens need to understand the need and see the value for their dollar.
Sorenson commented that a growing percentage of the discretionary general fund over the past 25 years has gone from non-public safety activities to public safety activities. He said they have had significant cuts outside of the public safety arena. He noted that 46 positions in mental and public health were eliminated last year. He said as a community they need to realize a majority of the criminal problem is a result of drug addiction and substance abuse. He said they have to make sure they have a commitment to doing something about substance abuse. He wanted to receive any feedback because he thought it was unfair for his constituents who live in the city to pay for law enforcement to their city and for outside of their city. He thought it was a double taxation issue.
2. DISCUSSION/Oceanwoods Park.
Todd Winter, Parks, reported that the Oceanwoods Park property is located in the urban growth boundary, approximately one-half north of the city limits of Florence. He noted the subject property was obtained by Lane County in 1940 as a result of a tax foreclosure and the property was then deeded to the State of Oregon through the Highway Commission in 1942. He stated in 1963 the State of Oregon deeded the property back to Lane County and the parcel has remained under the ownership of the Lane County Parks Department. He explained that the subject property is situated east of Rhododendron Drive, south of Heceta Beach Road and west of Highway 101. He indicated it was bordered on three sides by three subdivisions. He said it was 40 acres currently zoned natural resources. He said they are conducting a dunes and beach survey to determine the feasibility of putting in small gravel parking areas and providing some trails for passive recreation throughout the property. He reported that they are starting their master plan process as it has not been updated since 1980. He commented that the master plan process would decide the future of the Oceanwoods Property.
3. DISCUSSION/Secure Rural Schools.
Morrison distributed a list of an explanation of dollars that had been received by counties in the state regarding this legislation. She indicated that Lane County has received $133 million in revenue from the legislation. She stated if they hadn’t gotten the legislation passed in the year 2000, the money Lane County would have received regarding timber revenue from the Forest Service and O & C lands would have been $6,334,589. She commented that if this legislation is not re-authorized (and they go back to the original formula where counties and schools receive money), Lane County would have to provide revenues they have available to provide the services they do. She added that 70% of the budget is in public safety. She explained that the Forest Service money does not go into the general fund but goes into Public Works for roads. She reported that Lane County disburses $2.5 million each year through the budget process to the cities in Lane County. She indicated that Dunes City's total from this legislation will be $65,766 and for Florence it is $117,694. She reiterated if the legislation were not reauthorized, the payments to the small cities would no longer happen. Her goal is to talk to all of the small cities. With regard to school districts, she reported that Mapleton by the end of the legislation year would have received over $330,000 and Siuslaw will have received over $1.328 million in the six years of the legislation. She reported the total to the Lane County school districts is $39 million. She added the largest recipient was the Eugene 4J School District. She thought this legislation would be re-authorized but at a substantially reduced amount and they would have to adjust for that.
4. DISCUSSION/Kingwood Industrial Park.
Rodger Bennett, City of Florence, distributed a fact sheet that described what had been taking place the past few years. (Copy in file.) He noted of the 52 lots that are in the subdivision, 18 of the lots have been sold with the FAA and 14 were reserved for lease only. He added that of the 18 that have been sold, seven have been sold within the past eight months. He explained that the businesses that are occurring there support the economy in Florence. He indicated that retirement is the basis of the income in the community, but it doesn’t produce jobs. He noted the family wage jobs in Florence occur in the health care and home building industry. He commented that traditional industry, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution will have a difficult time operating in the community. He said Florence is a good place to retire, live, go to school, play and do business.
There being no further business, Commissioner Green recessed the meeting at 6:35 p.m.