City Council & County Commission
M I N U T E S
CITY-COUNTY COMMON BUDGET HEARINGS
Thursday, July 6, 2000 - 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
County-City Building, Room 113
County Commissioners Present: Kathy Campbell, Bernie Heier, Larry
City Council Members Present: Jon Camp, Common Vice Chair; Jonathan
Cook, Jeff Fortenberry, Annette McRoy and Coleen Seng
Others Present: Don Wesely, Ann Harrell and Jennifer Brinkman, Mayor's
Office; Dave Kroeker, County Budget & Fiscal Officer; Kerry Eagan, County
Chief Administrative Officer; Don Herz, Steve Hubka, Mark Leikam and
Chris Mackie, City Finance; and Cori Beattie, County Board Secretary
AGING - 4:15 p.m.
Gina Dunning, Lincoln Area Agency on Aging (LAAA) Director, stated that
this year's budget is basically a continuation budget. She expressed
appreciation to Mayor Wesely for his support and also the support of the
surrounding counties who are members of LAAA. The Lancaster County Board
requested that Dunning spend time traveling to counties included in
Aging's region; by the end of the summer she will have met with all
County Boards and Advisory Committees. She added that it has truly been
a great experience.
In reference to the Aging's budget, Dunning noted that it is somewhat
complex due to multiple funding sources and multi-county participation.
She hopes to have a more simplified program in place by this time next
year. A total of $7.2 million will be spent during the next budget year
throughout the entire area.
Dunning mentioned that there are some increases to the budget but
considers them washes. One item is an additional 24 hour per week staff
person for the Downtown Senior Center to assist with data entry, class
scheduling, record keeping, etc. Another is a $9,300 match for the
purchase of a 15-passenger van costing $37,000. Federal funding is
picking up $22,000 and the Senior Foundation has pledged another $5,500.
Dunning said transportation has been a major concern (especially in the
evening) and will be a point of focus during the upcoming year.
(Jon Camp arrived at 4:20 p.m.)
Hudkins asked if other counties had specific concerns. Dunning said
counties expressed their gratitude for her efforts in coming out to their
area. She felt that her visits to these counties will make it easier for
them to seek her help in the future. Hudkins agreed that it is important
to reaffirm to other counties that the LAAA is an all-inclusive agency.
Dunning offered one statistic before closing - in Lancaster County during
the last year, there were 230,904 volunteer hours committed to the LAAA.
This is an overwhelming amount. She added that the LIFE Program had two
caseworkers who saw a pattern with elderly people losing their homes
because they did not understand their taxes. This attributed to the
volunteers at the County Assessor's Office who help senior citizens with
Homestead Exemption paperwork.
Fortenberry commented that general fund expenditures look to be
increasing and asked for an explanation. Dunning said this is due to
salary and benefit adjustments. Hubka added that healthcare costs
reflect a big increase for all agencies.
Fortenberry questioned about an opportunity for the City to participate
in a program which would allow the elderly to remain in their homes but
yet call for assistance if necessary. Dunning said this type of program
is currently in place, though, the City does not provide the service - it
is brokered with other agencies, self-supporting and quite successful.
(Don Herz arrived at 4:25 p.m.)
PUBLIC BUILDING COMMISSION (PBC) - 4:25 p.m.
Don Killeen, County Property Manager, distributed copies of the PBC
Notice of Budget Hearing & Budget Summary (copy on file; see Exhibit A).
Killeen commented that most buildings will be maintained as in past
years. Preliminary figures from January showed two possible shortfalls -
the old police building and the Old Federal Building. Fortunately, the
State is utilizing some space in the Old Federal Building which allowed
funds to be allocated toward the following goals: design and landscape
for the area between the County-City Building and the Hall of Justice;
elevator renovation in the Hall of Justice; and a master plan for
parking. The latter would involve redefining the situation in the south
lot, possible expansion of the "H" Street lot and the long-term plan of
decked parking on the west lot after the Election Office has been moved.
These items are addressed in the handout under "County-City Building" and
"Hall of Justice" and will cost roughly $200,000. Another first-year
expenditure in the Hall of Justice is front door security in the amount
of $239,000. This cost is billed back to tenants in that building.
Seng noted that the cover sheet of the handout reflects typographical
errors in the first paragraph. The budget year should be "2000-01"
instead of 1996-97 and the list of PBC members is outdated.
Camp inquired about any major developments for the upcoming year.
Killeen said nothing comes to mind at this point. There will probably be
a shortfall of about $70,000 from the old police building. Hopefully,
future additional occupancy may help cut this loss.
Campbell noted that the downtown action committee is behind on the
Request For Information for the Old Federal Building. It should be out
by the end of July.
(Mayor Wesely arrived at 4:30 p.m.)
DIVERSION SERVICES - 4:30 p.m.
Eric McMasters, Diversion Services Director, distributed the following
(copies on file):
1. Diversion Services 1999 Annual Report (see Exhibit B); and
2. A Summary and Overview of Proposal for Tulsa, OK, Project (see
McMasters stated that the diversion program started in 1975 as a County
department and was privatized in 1986. Public funding was reduced from
$147,000 to $64,000 and maintained at this rate for 14 years. An
increased of $12,000 is being requested for fiscal year 2000-01.
Main programs include: adult diversion program for felonies and
misdemeanors, County Attorney bad check restitution and the STOP traffic
diversion program. Diversion Services has also operated the Douglas
County adult diversion program since 1995 and, since March 2000, is
running a community sensing project ( privatized probation) in Tulsa, OK.
McMasters said he is spending approximately three weeks a month in Tulsa
to get the project implemented.
Objectives for the next year are outlined on page two of the annual
report. McMasters noted that the STOP program did increase fees in 1998
from $40 to $50. Diversion Services, the City and County all received
extra revenue from this increase. At the same time, STOP participation
has declined 13% from 1998-99 and 8% this year. This accounts for a
significant part of the budget. The diversion program has also been flat
and will probably remain so due to the affect of the drug court. On the
other hand, Client fees have been raised nearly 20%. Public dollars
account for only 12% of Diversion Services total budget. McMasters said
a net income of $16,292 was realized in 1999. Campbell commented that
the cost to the City and County for Diversion Services is still much more
cost-efficient than running the program themselves.
In response to Cook's inquiry regarding STOP fees, McMasters said the fee
was originally $30, then $40 and finally increased to $50 on August 1,
1998. Diversion Services currently received $6 of every registration
fee. Classes are divided 70% to the Nebraska Safety Council and 30% to
Diversion Services. Class fees increased from $25 to $28. The City was
projected to receive $70,000 in 1999 but only $50,000 was realized due to
the shortfall in registrations. McMasters added that a number of factors
have contributed to the decrease in STOP participants. Obviously, there
is a direct correlation between the number of law enforcement officers
and the number of tickets. The City makes up 85% of tickets; the County
Hudkins asked how the $6,000 increase was derived for each government
entity. McMasters said the amount was somewhat arbitrary. The 20% loss
in STOP revenue caused a monthly shortage of $1,000. This figure times
12 months, divided evenly reflects a $6,000 increase for each body.
Camp said the City and County are facing tremendous costs from
incarceration fees of people who choose to sit out fines instead of
paying them. He asked if anything can be done to help remedy this
situation. McMasters said he would be happy to attend a future Common
meeting to discuss some options. Campbell noted that many people sitting
out fines are simply indigent and do not have the financial resources to
pay. It may be best to wait until Steinman and Heier have met with the
judges after which time they will come back to the Common with a better
idea of who is actually sitting out fines. Campbell also noted that
indigents are given the right, by State Statute, to sit out fines in jail
and this right cannot be taken away.
Fortenberry said it would be helpful to him if McMasters could attend a
future Common meeting to explain the evolution of Diversion Services and
how it meshes with city services. McMasters said as long as he has some
lead time, he would be happy to discuss this at a future meeting. He
will also perform independent research regarding options to sitting out
fines and be prepared to share this information at that time. Campbell
added that the County is hiring an indigent screener. This pilot project
will be funded by keno dollars. The County Board feels this will help
determine whether or not someone actually has the right to sit out their
fines versus having the means to pay for them and/or their defense.
Evidently, there has been a concern with the consistency involved in
asking indigency questions from court to court.
SPECIAL NEEDS - 5:00 p.m.
Dean Settle, Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) Director, and Wendy
Andorf, Program Manager, were present. Settle said the CMHC provides
services to severely and persistent mentally ill patients via a
caseworker/case management structure. There are currently 600 people
being served with another 75 on a waiting list. Andorf supervises 20
case managers with a 30-person caseload each. Settle pointed out that
the CMHC did lose case management funding from Region V.
The first Special Needs case manager originated from the old crime and
community grant. Then, the program was tucked into the County's General
Assistance Program. For the last 5-6 years, Special Needs has been
jointly funded by the City and County and was moved to the CMHC. Andorf
said Special Needs identifies those who do not meet traditional services
- they are likely to come to the attention of the police before the CMHC.
Often times these people simply need to get back on medication.
Settle said Special Needs is an essential piece of the CMHC. These case
workers are the ones who really interface with people at the jail,
Cornhusker Place, etc., and often intervene after the police have been
contacted. Without these case workers, the police would be spending even
more time on matters of this nature.
WOMEN'S COMMISSION - 5:07 p.m.
Jennifer Brinkman, Aide to Mayor Wesely, was present on behalf of Women's
Commission Executive Director, Bonnie Coffey, who was out-of-town.
Brinkman distributed information (copy on file) regarding the proposed FY
2000-01 and WomenTalk topics (see Exhibit D).
Brinkman noted that while this is basically a continuation budget, Coffey
did ask her to discuss a few areas - one being the WomenTalk TV show.
The handout defines program topics which were previously aired; another
seven shows are scheduled to run this year. She added that these
programs are not supported by tax dollars but rather private businesses.
Another upcoming project is a repeat of the 1997 conference "Income of
Her Own." Teens between the ages of 12-15 attended the conference to
discuss ways of succeeding in small business. Solomon Smith Barney has
pledged $2,200 to help fund the conference scheduled for October 23,
It was noted that Coffey will be scheduling meetings with the City
Council and County Board to discuss potential restructuring of the
Campbell questioned the increase under miscellaneous from $800 to $3,000.
Hubka said he thought an unfunded item was submitted for various program
needs which may be included on this line. He said he would verify this,
if desired. Campbell said that explanation was fine by her as the
increase is quite small; she was just curious what it was for.
Camp mentioned there were a couple of transfers for traveling and/or
conferences. Hubka said there was some staff turnover which provided a
salary savings in the last couple of years. He thought equipment was
primarily purchased with these funds.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT - 5:12 p.m.
Doug Ahlberg, Emergency Management Director, noted three areas of his
budget to be highlighted. Under temporary employees, he stated that the
amount is a dollar-to-dollar match grant with the State. The Nebraska
Emergency Management Agency will fund up to $15,000. This employee will
review the local emergency operations plan for Lancaster County and the
City of Lincoln. The project should take roughly six months to complete
after which time a temporary employee will no longer be needed in the
Another budgetary concern is listed under Capital Outlay. An outdoor
warning siren 10-year replacement upgrade for the City is estimated to
cost $91,140. This will allow for three new sirens a year; one with
increased ranges of 1000'. The older sirens will be refurbished and
relocated to other villages and State recreational areas throughout the
County. These sirens will provide ranges of 2000' to 4200'.
The third area which reflected an increase was siren maintenance.
Ahlberg noted that there were 175 siren failures last year. It was
discovered that a great deal of siren maintenance was incorrect,
therefore, a contract was recently signed with a new company. Wesely
asked if the former company had a performance bond. Ahlberg said they
did not. Cook inquired if there is a different siren sound for different
scenarios. Ahlberg said the systems are two-toned, providing for alert
and attack warnings. Unfortunately, most people would not recognize the
McRoy questioned whether the older tone alert receivers may be used to
warn the South Salt Creek neighborhood about flooding. To explain,
Ahlberg said a number of tone alert receivers are strategically placed
around the County-City Building and are able to receive a signal from the
Emergency Management office notifying employees of weather conditions,
fires, etc. In the current budget, 24 receivers will be replaced. He
said the older units could be utilized in high impact areas in regard to
flooding. McRoy said she has discussed this issue with Ahlberg in the
past. If neighborhood presidents had a tone alert receiver in their
homes, they could then notify other neighbors of a potential threat.
This may help alleviate some of the residents concerns.
Ahlberg said siren frequency can be programmed so that only certain ones
go off at any particular time, i.e., only those in the County-City
Building would go off in case of a bomb threat in the building.
Fortenberry said a big misperception exists in that sirens are intended
to warn people indoors. Ahlberg stressed that sirens are
strictly outside warning devices; people indoors should rely on
television/radio coverage to help monitor severe weather. Fortenberry
added that in the future, it may be wise to look at having sirens in new
developments become public costs.
Camp inquired whether cellular towers can be utilized together with
warning sirens. Ahlberg said in the past, sirens were placed on
buildings but when roofs needed to be replaced, it would cost about
$3,600 to remove and replace a siren. Some sirens are being moved from
buildings to park areas within the city limits which seems to be working
CORRECTIONS - 5:30 p.m.
Mike Thurber, Corrections Director, distributed a summary analysis of
their requested budget (copy on file; see Exhibit E). Also in attendance
was Liz Thanel, Business Manager.
Thurber noted that the biggest increase is in personnel. The department
is asking for seven new positions. The number of correctional officers
has not been increased since 1993 (with the exception of Sheriff's
deputies which were transferred to Corrections to perform prisoner
transports). More officers are needed due to population classification.
The department's daily average is 341 offenders between the two
facilities. In 1991, this average was 214. Thurber said this increase
has contributed to extensive overtime costs.
Other notable increases include the migration to the CJIS computer
system. The conversion has produced an increase in the VAX operating
system. Capital outlay reflects the need to replace food service
equipment, cameras and lock enhancements.
Page three of the handout refers to days served by city offenders.
Thurber noted that in 1989, 21,910 city days represented approximately
29% of the total population. In FY 2000, the City is up to 29,055 days
(or 24%) and the County is at 91,591 (76%). The percent change from FY
1989 to FY 00 is: City = 33.8%; County = 55.1%. He added that there are
considerably more domestic violation lodgings since 1997. The daily rate
is $61.14. This rate does fluctuate based on population - the more
offenders, the less the rate.
Wesely said he is concerned about the increased city days and hoped there
is a way to track factors contributing to the increase. Thurber said a
great deal are third offense DUI and domestic violence offenders.
Approximately 70-75 offenders per day are the City's responsibility.
Wesely added that the Common recently discussed the practice of offenders
being allowed to sit out fines. He mentioned that it would be nice to
know why this practice has been increasing and if there is anything which
can be done to remedy the increased usage. Thurber said those sitting
out fines account for 7% of the daily population (20-32 people per day)
with more city offenders sitting out fines since they tend to be the ones
who receive fines. He added that he has been meeting with Judge Pokorney
to discuss the issue and look at the possibility of eliminating this
practice. In doing so, Thurber did note that the failure to comply rate
may significantly increase.
In reference to tracking offenders on a database, Thanel said it would be
hard to have an accurate picture since many have multiple offenses.
Numbers would probably have to be tracked manually.
Fortenberry questioned if the only increase the City is experiencing is
due to time served. Thurber said the increase is due to population
growth, food costs, etc., which are reflected in the per diem charge
figured on the population. Thanel added that the City is really paying
for more city prisoners who are serving more time. The per diem rate
does fluctuate - as the number of prisoners increases, the rate charge to
the City decreases.
Camp asked if there was a way more prisoners could be involved in work
release. Thurber said the downtown facility primarily consists of
pretrial offenders who do not have outside work. The Airpark facility
has 130 inmates with 72 of them on work release. Twelve additional
inmates are working at the downtown facility doing such things as
laundry, food service, etc.
JUVENILE DIVERSION - 5:52 p.m.
Cindy Ryman Yost, Karla Dush and Sandra Miller represented Cedars Youth
Services. A fact sheet was distributed (copy on file; see Exhibit F).
Yost noted that Cedars has expanded its involvement in juvenile justice
continuum. Such projects as the Tracker Program, electronic monitoring,
and the evening/day reporting center are currently underway. She stated
that the budget request from the City and County particularly deals with
the juvenile diversion program which serves the largest number of kids
and saves taxpayer dollars.
Dush noted that program referrals have increased considerably in only the
first six months of 2000. The current number is 1,272 compared with
1,460 for all of 1999. Roughly 80% of all referrals will enroll and
graduate from the juvenile diversion program. Recidivism rates show that
75% of youth completing the program since 1997 did not reoffend. This
percentage may increase to 80% when final data is reviewed. She added
that the most common offenses include shoplifting, assault, minor in
possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana/drug paraphernalia and
criminal mischief. Other impact groups offered through Juvenile
Diversion are: victim sensitivity training, drug/alcohol, responsible
decision making, correctional tours, parent education/support group,
tobacco evaluation and truancy prevention group.
Dush said it costs the City/County approximately $0.44/day to operate the
Juvenile Diversion Program (see last paragraph, Exhibit F).
Heier questioned why the graduation success rate increased. Dush said
Juvenile Diversion began in June, 1997. Therefore, many of these early
cases were backlogged and it's taken time to catch up. Seng commented
that Cedars is doing a great job.
Camp said he noticed that the City's share of the budget seems to be
increasing while the County's is decreasing. Miller said the formula is
based on previous year referrals and the City has been sending more kids
through the program.
(BREAK - 6:00 TO 6:30 p.m.)
HEALTH - 6:30 p.m.
Leon Vinci, Health Director, presented the 2000-01 Health Department
budget. Others in attendance were Scott Holmes, Steve Beal, Kathy Cook
and Carole Douglas. Vinci noted that there were no dramatic increases,
although, the continued growth in the City and County has placed a burden
on many services. For example, Animal Control has seen a 30% increase.
In terms of structure, Vinci said the Health Department covers a lot of
areas, many of which are outlined by State statutes. There is also a
considerable amount of grant dollars involved.
Vinci said there are a number of issues the Health Department is
concerned about, such as environmental impacts from hazardous materials
and air pollution. Also, dollars have been transferred to Health from
the Public Works Department which reflects a slight change. He added
concerns regarding a position with adult case management which was not
included in the Mayor's budget. This public health nurse would service
elderly which do not qualify for Medicare or home health care. He feels
without this oversight by the public health nurse, patients could
eventually cost the City and County three, four or even ten times more.
The Health Department is looking at some in-house shifting to fund the
program and Vinci encouraged the City and County's continued support.
Hudkins questioned the demographics of the 40 families served by adult
case management. Douglas said this is widely dispersed. There has been
an increasing shift in the last two years so that nearly half are
minorities. Many patients have Type II diabetes and post traumatic
stress. Hudkins asked if there is an estimate regarding the impact on
the County's General Assistance program related to the lack of in-home
care by adult case management. Douglas said she could obtain this
information fairly quick. She did have a description of the case load
with her but would need to review other data further. Hudkins said he
would be very interested in finding out what Douglas discovers. He added
that adult case management is a very worthy program that the City and
County should retain. Vinci said he does have with him case-by-case
adult/geriatric client scenarios. Hudkins said to go ahead and
distribute this information (copy on file; see Exhibit G).
Campbell asked if page 29 indicates a decrease in full-time employees
(FTE's) under public health nursing. Douglas said yes. The quality
assurance coordinator which was added this year was actually shifted from
a supervisory position. It is somewhat difficult to see where the actual
decrease in FTE's is outlined. Campbell questioned if there is enough
vacancy savings in the department over the course of a year to cover this
expense. Kathy Cook indicated that this budget already reflects $93,000
of vacancy savings this budget year and has been doing so for the last
seven to eight years. Vinci said there is a state-wide nursing shortage.
Hudkins added that the shortage is projected until 2015. Fortenberry
asked why this position was initially removed from the Mayor's
recommended budget. Vinci stated that this item was listed under "lower
priority." Seng asked what dollar amount would be needed. Kathy Cook
Campbell noted that the percent increase in the overall Health Department
budget is up significantly. Vinci said this increase is driven primarily
by salaries, union negotiations and health benefits. Camp commented
that Health added a full-time position in administration last year.
Kathy Cook said this year's budget reflects an accounting position which
is supported by grant dollars.
Campbell said there is also a big jump in the area of services - 1.6 to
1.8 million. Vinci said this covers the fact that we are moving ahead
with growth in the water program. At the same time, revenues will be
compensating for the increase. Health benefits, salary increases and the
$20,000 transferred from Public Works are also included in this amount.
Kathy Cook added that there are things such as building and vehicle
operating costs and physician/dental contracts to also consider as part
of the increase.
Camp questioned if data was available regarding current fiscal year-to-
date numbers versus actual budgeted dollars. Vinci noted that things
seem to be right on target. Fortenberry asked for a breakdown of fees
which would potentially impact general fund subsidies. Vinci said fees
such as food inspections, water quality checks, special wastes, Medicaid
reimbursement and dental fees would all be included.
Jonathan Cook inquired about changes in Animal Control. Vinci said these
changes will provide for growth dollars and increased dispatch time. In
reference to the fallen voucher program, Vinci noted that experience was
lower than projections. A new initiative was started last year and if it
takes off, adjustments will need to be made in the future.
Fortenberry said it seems that there are more fee based programs out of
the Health Department other than those previously mentioned. Vinci
explained that those programs previously mentioned are general fund
subsidies. Many of the others go into separate funds. Fortenberry
suggested that if fees were higher, than the City's subsidized portion
would be lower. He requested a fee breakdown regarding specific items
and funds. Fortenberry asked how fees are determined. Vinci said some
criteria considered are:
(1) Cost to the City and County
(2) Cost comparison to other communities
(3) Number of years since last adjustment
Vinci said it would be great to be 100% fee supported as often times fees
are tied to things used by only a few, i.e., food vendor licenses.
Holmes added that another factor is an overall balance between public
good versus fair price to pay. Fortenberry asked if plans are in place
to increase fees to cover the cost of those items not included in the
budget, such as the public health nurse. Vinci said in terms of fees,
no. In regard to fees assessed for that particular service, he said the
Health Department is already serving those not eligible for
Medicaid/Medicare. Fortenberry said he's suggesting other alternatives
within the department which may free funds and allow the position to be
included in the budget. Vinci said this approach hasn't really been
Seng asked for explanation regarding funds for coordinating neighborhood
cleanups. She thought we were pulling this money out of Public Works.
Scott Holmes said there is $20,000 included in the budget. Previously,
it was funded out of Public Works/Transportation. The Health Department
has been administering these dollars for six or seven years. Making the
switch in budgets will cut down on paperwork. The entire program is
grant funded so there is no real increase and the line item should not be
included in Public Work's budget this year.
McRoy questioned why an Animal Control officer is being cut when calls
are up 30%. Vinci said the short answer is the Mayor didn't support the
other option. The longer answer is that we have to work within the
available budget. McRoy asked if this staffing shortage will increase
overtime. Vinci commented that some in-house changes may be necessary
upon seeing how things are working. Wesely noted that fees for animal
control education were increased last year. This year, one position in
animal control and one in public health nursing were eliminated. The
overall Health Department budget is up 7%; the overall City budget is up
6%. The department is actually doing comparatively well. He stated that
the City's share for the Health Department is increasing by $64,500 this
year and feels that is a pretty big hit. He added that the County may be
in worse shape when considering such things as General Assistance and the
Campbell asked if people in the adult program are case managed by any
other agency. Douglas said there is no other contact with these
particular clients. If people are able to pay on a sliding scale, they
are referred to places like Tabitha. And efforts are still made to get
Medicaid to cover some of the expense.
Jonathan Cook inquired about roadside signs/billboards. Holmes said this
money is from the County Board and relates to the illegal dumping
program. There are about 300 illegal dumpings a year throughout the
County. Campbell noted that the incidences go up when landfill fees
increase as people try to avoid paying more.
Camp noted that the Health Department's fringe benefits seems to be in
excess of 30% of compensation while other departments are closer to the
mid-20's. Hubka said these amounts are based on specific employees and
union ties. The range is generally between 25-30%. Police and Fire are
often times less because their pension plans are different.
INFORMATION SERVICES - 7:15 p.m.
Doug Thomas, Information Services Director, distributed budget highlights
(copy on file) for the upcoming fiscal year (see Exhibit H).
Thomas said numbers reflect an increase in salaries and benefits.
Internal capital's biggest contributor is a mainframe upgrade over the
next two years. Some of this cost will likely be held over until late
next fiscal year or early next fall. Other major internal capital items
include: VPS TCP/IS software, DISK upgrade and DISK controller for a
total of $94,600. He noted that CJIS costs account for $11,200 and
Networking costs are $115,000. Full-time employees remain at 43,
although, two positions are being reallocated within the department.
Projects for the upcoming year will be the upgrade of the City and County
word processing servers, working on web initiatives and Register of Deeds
imaging. Palm Pilot technology is also continuing to increase. Wesely
asked if Information Services could work with Corrections to develop a
system to track why inmates are in jail and any consequences which may
attribute to increased costs for the City and County. Thomas said he
would talk to Mike Thurber.
McRoy questioned if anything was moved in conjunction with the baseball
stadium. Thomas said there were some things moved but it was all
included in the baseball project's budget. There should be no future
costs to Information Services other than relocating some equipment.
(Fortenberry left at 7:23.)
PERSONNEL - 7:25 p.m.
Georgia Glass, Personnel Director, commented that their budget has not
changed much. Cuts were proposed as to stay within the suggested
parameters. This included a decrease in education, training and
photocopying. The only areas which increased were data processing fees
and salaries. She explained that 65% of the Personnel budget is from the
City; 33% from the County and 2% from Building & Grounds.
Camp asked about health plan provisions and what government can look to
do in the future. Glass said to get the overall cost down, the City and
County may want to consider plan design changes. Some changes imposed
this year may pass costs on to people who are actually using the
insurance but not too drastically. Next year, we may want to increase
deductibles and copays. If changes are implemented over the next two or
three years, employees will have a chance to get used to the new design.
Wesely said a good strategy to follow may be to annually tighten the
health plan up to help keep costs down.
PLANNING - 7:30 p.m.
Kathleen Sellman, Planning Director, distributed information regarding
the department's proposed budget (copy on file; see Exhibit I). Also in
attendance from the Planning Department were John Bradley, Kent Morgan
and Jean Walker. Sellman thanked City and County officials for their
continued support and for approving the addition of two positions last
Three major work program themes were mentioned. These included:
*high quality, professional planning support to the City and County
*recent expansion of front counter staff which helped to change how
people access information
*continued growth and change places extra demands on the planning
A number of projects were noted as being recently completed or nearing
completion (see page 3 of handout). Planning challenges and imperatives
were discussed and are shown on page 4.
In regard to the Planning Department's supplemental budget request for
fiscal year 2001, Sellman said a one-time authorization of $180,000
(City/80% = $144,000; County/20% = $36,000) is needed for proposed
Comprehensive Plan work. These funds would allow the project to move
forward more quickly, including Stevens Creek. The breakdown of funding
would be: $135,000 for professional planning support, $25,000 for
community attitudinal survey, $10,000 for meeting facilities and $10,000
Sellman said that one complaint often heard by the community and
developers is that they don't know what to expect in any given planning
request. The Planning Department wishes to provide a clear course for
the development community and the general public and to accommodate
residential, business and public growth in order to save money for
taxpayers and utility users. Also, it will be important to meet the
needs of the existing development community and to see that neighborhoods
are not neglected as the department focuses on new development.
Campbell asked how much was spent on the community congress process. She
thought it was a special appropriation between the City and County dating
back to the Bill Harris administration. It was supposedly a one-time
appropriation which was split between two budget years and wondered if
there was any way the Comprehensive Plan work could be done the same way.
Morgan said the department is simply trying to consolidate as much as
possible in a compressed time frame. Campbell noted that the community
congress drug on longer than everyone anticipated and many were
disappointed in the actual time the project took. So realistically
speaking, this project may not be able to be completed in one budget
year. She said she hoped the City and County could be creative in this
area and take a serious look at the project and make a commitment to
Seng said she agrees with Campbell and added that the project is very
important and dollars should be found to support it. She asked if a
mechanism was considered to have private sector help pay for the project.
Sellman said this approach has not been reviewed, though, a lot of
different things are being looked at. Camp also agreed. Hudkins said
the County Board has discussed this issue in depth. He agreed that
funding should be made available because, ultimately, government will end
up paying now or later. It will be so much easier on everyone if we can
have adequate planning. If the entire project cannot be completed in one
year, then it should be divided into sections with as much done in a year
as possible. Heier said he doesn't want to see planning stop due to lack
Camp asked Sellman to visit with staff members and the private sector and
come back to the City and County with ways to make this project more
manageable. Wesely said some of history's biggest projects are now
before the City and County; it's a very important time for the community.
Sellman said this initial piece will provide the element which will link
all other parts. There are a tremendous number of specific plans and
studies underway which will provide us with a better opportunity than
usual because more up-to-date information is available than normal.
Hudkins said if long-term planning helps to facilitate and bring in new
industries and infrastructure, it will contribute to a new tax base and
sales tax base.
Heier congratulated Sellman for her leadership and her open-mindedness.
He said it is very refreshing to see a good long list of suggestions
regarding various issues before the City and County. Hudkins added that
everyone appreciates the department's hard work and dedication. Camp
asked if there would be a way in the future to reach out to Omaha or
other cities. Sellman said this could be done.
There being no further business, the meeting ended at 8:00 p.m.
Cori R. Beattie
County Board Secretary