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					 1                            WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL
 2                  Finance and Administrative Services Committee
 3
 4                      PROPOSED 2002 WHATCOM COUNTY BUDGET
 5
 6                                     October 25, 2001
 7
 8         The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Committee Chair Robert
 9   Imhof in the Council Chambers, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, Washington.
10
11         Also Present:                                        Absent:
12         Marlene Dawson                                       None
13         Sam Crawford
14
15        DISCUSSION OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE’S 2002 RECOMMENDED
16   BUDGET (PROSECUTING ATTORNEY/LAW LIBRARY; EXECUTIVE;
17   COUNCIL/HEARING EXAMINER; PUBLIC WORKS; SHERIFF/JAIL)(AB2001-
18   206)
19
20
21   PROSECUTING ATTORNEY/LAW LIBRARY
22
23          Dave McEachran, Prosecuting Attorney, stated they are still working on the
24   goals for 2001 to finalize the year-end totals. Adding another attorney has helped
25   him a great deal. The felony caseloads have remained the same. The juvenile
26   numbers have gone down and have been going down for the last two years. The
27   numbers are the same in the other divisions. The felonies nationwide have reduced
28   overall. That doesn’t impact Whatcom County directly because the rate of arrests
29   has been up. They are catching a lot of folks. The laws have become tougher.
30
31          Regarding time limits, they wanted to reduce the number of cases per
32   attorney, and that has been accomplished. One of the performance levels was to
33   reduce the receipt of the case filings to 29 days. That was reached in the year
34   2000, and now they are trying to get it down to 22 days. Juvenile case timelines
35   are about the same. He is meeting his expectations for the District Court time
36   limit. Things are going fine in that regard. It has been a year he has held their
37   position. The extra attorney helped immeasurably.
38
39           This year, the Executive approved a number of his requests. The area of
40   greatest need is for an additional appellate attorney for felonies. One attorney does
41   all of those cases. Her caseload has gone up dramatically. With the filing of the
42   Kinney case, the Public Defender asked for two additional attorneys, and received
43   those attorneys. His office has enough funds lapsed from other positions to put on
44   an additional appellate attorney in 2002. They have been late in getting their briefs
45   in on time. He doesn’t need two attorneys for the Kinney case. He needs an
46   appellate attorney to spend half time on the Kinney case and half time handling
47   general appeals. He and Mac Setter will be on the Kinney case. If they add this
48   position on, they only need a half time employee to handle it.


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 1
 1
 2          Another major case is the Elmore case, which is another death penalty case.
 3   They have gone through the first, major appeal. They argued before the State
 4   Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court affirmed the case. The defense sent a
 5   petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, but they didn’t accept it. It came back, and it
 6   continues to go through the death penalty appellate process.
 7
 8           Imhof asked if the County gets reimbursed from the State for these
 9   extraordinary expenses. McEachran stated not during the appellate stage, but they
10   will for the trial stage. He is keeping track of all their time on the Kinney case. He
11   will bill the State, and receive money back from the State. Whatcom County will
12   have to pay for the cost of this appeal. The attorney general will join him quickly to
13   take depositions. The appellate position is critical to keep their heads above water.
14   There is no complementary position in the Public Defender’s office.
15
16        Another additional services request (ASR) was for a copy machine upgrade
17   and money for extra summer help. That helps with recruitment and during the
18   summer when people are away on vacations.
19
20         Imhof asked why the cost of the copy machine upgrade is ongoing.
21
22         Dewey Desler, Deputy Administrator, stated they lease the machine.
23
24          McEachran stated one other ASR relates to the investigator that was
25   approved last year from the Law and Justice Council recommendations. One of the
26   highest priorities last year was for an investigator that would work with him, the
27   Sheriff, and the Bellingham Police Department. The position was not filled, and he
28   asks that the position be put back into the budget for this year. This had a high
29   priority with the Law and Justice Council because it brings everyone together and
30   creates economies with everyone. A police officer from Bellingham would be an
31   investigator in his office. It would tie all the agencies together. He anticipates that
32   the detective would be involved with staffing conferences with the Bellingham Police
33   and County Sheriff.
34
35          Dawson asked why bring in a Bellingham police officer. McEachran stated
36   that bringing in someone from outside would drive a wedge in with the law
37   enforcement officers. It is better to bring in an officer that would draw them
38   together.
39
40          Crawford asked why the Executive denied the request and how this fits in the
41   Law and Justice Council priorities. Desler stated Mr. McEachran is very prudent and
42   reasonable. The administration is pleased to work with him. There have been
43   many changes over the last six or seven months that the administration is trying to
44   cope with. When the Law and Justice Council made it’s recommendations, they
45   weren’t dealing with a national recession, the attack on America, health insurance
46   costs, and other issues. In the meantime, Mr. Kinney was caught, and Whatcom
47   County is faced with additional expenses. The administration set up a special
48   accounting system to track the Kinney case costs in the hope to get


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 2
 1   reimbursements for those costs in a couple of years. The administration
 2   appreciates the Prosecuting Attorney's desire for this additional officer. The
 3   Bellingham Police Department wants a three-year commitment for this officer. He
 4   is concerned about making multi-year commitments. When things turn around, he
 5   will work closely with the prosecutor to help him do the best possible job he can.
 6
 7         Crawford stated that from 1999 to 2002, there has been a 20 percent
 8   increase in the Prosecuting Attorney's overall budget. He asked if there has been a
 9   20 percent increase in caseload and crime. McEachran stated there probably has
10   not been. The numbers Councilmember Crawford are looking at is for the entire
11   department. He is trying to get the caseload down to a level that can be handled.
12
13           Crawford asked if the department was under-funded in 1999. McEachran
14   stated yes. It was under-funded, but they are trying to catch up. Also, the
15   number of tort claims is increasing. That fund was depleted, and they are trying to
16   build it back up. Those things account for the difference.
17
18          Desler stated the graphs in the budget material include a number of other
19   funds that are administered through the Prosecutor's office, including the drug
20   fund. When they look at what was used from the general fund, the Prosecutor’s
21   cost, Law Library, and High Intensity Drug Traffic Act (HIDTA) funding goes down
22   by $20,000 in 2002.
23
24          Dawson asked if there is some way that a judge could make an attorney
25   consolidate a multitude of briefs. McEachran stated that they are abused by the
26   defendants in prison who use the law library and send out brief after brief to the
27   courts. He has to respond to those briefs. The Association of Prosecuting
28   Attorney’s presented a bill to the legislature to stop the number of briefs that a
29   defendant can file. The defendants can only file briefs within one year of the final
30   judgement. Now, the prisoners are filing directly to the State Supreme Court. The
31   court is letting these people abuse the system.
32
33          Crawford asked for an overview on the death penalty case process and what
34   is reimbursable. McEachran stated the death penalty was initially invalidated by the
35   Supreme Court. People brought forward an initiative to make it applicable. The
36   legislature rewrote the death penalty laws so it is constitutional now. He explained
37   the degrees of murder and their associated penalties. They don’t decide on
38   whether or not to process a death penalty case based on economics. The law for
39   reimbursement is new, and Whatcom County should recover a significant amount of
40   funds. The amount could be 50 percent or more.
41
42         Crawford asked about the use of Road Fund revenues, and whether the
43   Prosecuting Attorney can use the road funds more than it currently does with
44   crimes related to roads. McEachran stated he can look at that.
45
46          Desler stated he’s been examining the statutes recently. The law allows use
47   of road funds for traffic law enforcement including policing, defense, prosecution,




         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 3
 1   and incarceration. He will make a modest proposal to divert road funds to the
 2   general fund for those costs.
 3
 4          Crawford stated they should do whatever it takes to keep the general fund as
 5   funded as possible by using whatever they can. Desler stated that under the
 6   Secure Schools Funding Act, they anticipate receiving only $600,000 for the road
 7   fund. He would propose to take the difference from what they receive from the
 8   federal government and what they anticipate receiving to pay for traffic
 9   enforcement. Whatcom County increased the number of road deputies last year by
10   eight. The increased workload is a key issue.
11
12         Crawford asked if there is an opportunity for the Prosecuting Attorney to get
13   some of that money. Desler stated the Prosecuting Attorney is funded from the
14   general fund. The administration will show the expenses in each one of the law
15   enforcement offices.
16
17         Crawford stated they would not move the money from the road fund to the
18   Prosecuting Attorney's office. They would move the road fund money into the
19   general fund, and then the Prosecuting Attorney's office gets the money from the
20   general fund. Desler agreed. They have to account for the money.
21
22          Imhof cautioned too much diversion from the Road fund. There is a reason
23   that the people in Olympia protect that money.
24
25
26   EXECUTIVE
27
28         Desler stated the Executive's budget is $5,000 more than in 2001. They
29   continue to work on their objectives with the same level of staff. The County
30   government continues to make progress.
31
32         Crawford asked the reason for the increase. Desler stated it is due to
33   general increased costs.
34
35         (Clerk’s Note: End of tape one, side A.)
36
37
38   COUNCIL/HEARING EXAMINER
39
40          Dana Brown-Davis, Clerk of the Council, stated the budget request is less
41   than last years'. She submitted a list of goals for 2001 and 2002. The approved
42   new staff person in the 2001 budget has really helped to catch up on projects.
43
44        Imhof asked the process of putting the Council packet on the website.
45   Brown-Davis stated each page has to be scanned.
46
47        Imhof asked if the information could be emailed from other departments.
48   Brown-Davis stated they are not ready to do that yet.


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 4
 1
 2         Crawford asked if it is less time consuming for one staff person to spend a
 3   day doing it instead of having staff all over County government do it.
 4
 5        Imhof stated the staff in the departments has to input the information
 6   anyway. They might as well input it in an electronic format.
 7
 8          Brown-Davis stated they are working in the direction of receiving information
 9   electronically.
10
11         Crawford asked how many of the citizens are using the packet online.
12   Brown-Davis stated she will know when she sees how many people subscribe to the
13   paper packet. She also gets a report on the amount of hits to the web page.
14
15         Imhof asked about the code online. Brown-Davis stated the code is online at
16   the Multiple Research and Services Center website.
17
18         Brenner asked the number of people who ask for paper copy of the packet.
19   Brown-Davis stated outside of County departments, there are approximately 23
20   requests.
21
22          Crawford asked how much they need a color laser printer, and if they could
23   get by with two black and white printers. Another department is making a request
24   for a color printer. Brown-Davis stated they could.
25
26         Brenner stated the Council receives information with color-coding. It is not a
27   good idea to give away the color printer.
28
29
30   PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
31
32         Jeff Monsen, Public Works Director, presented reference information for any
33   questions that may come up (on file).
34
35         Dawson asked about a request that was declined for a hydro-seeder. She
36   saw hydro-seeding work that was done.
37
38         Imhof stated they contracted out for the work.
39
40         Dawson asked if the hydro-seeding would be done in-house if the County had
41   its own hydro-seeding. Monsen stated not necessarily. The majority of hydro-
42   seeding would still be a contracted activity. He wants a hydro-seeder for small
43   scale maintenance activities, rather than contracting for a large unit to come into
44   the area.
45
46          Monsen stated accomplishments in 2001 include consolidation of functional
47   sections in the Civic Center building. Everyone is pleased to be working side by
48   side. The efficiencies have been helpful. In road construction, they are getting


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 5
 1   Park Road underway and getting Yew Street done. They concluded the Lummi
 2   Shore Road project. He is still discussing with the Lummi Nation the possibility of
 3   finishing the route. That is still in discussion.
 4
 5          In the Maintenance and Operations Division, the redraft of the vegetation
 6   plan is significant in terms of their approach to dealing with vegetation
 7   management and water resources. It is a different approach in how they deal with
 8   road maintenance. They acquired a new paint striper to use water-based paint.
 9   They will have to be careful regarding weather.
10
11          They successfully finished phases one and two of the ferry planning process.
12   He will try not to get into the debate of whether or not there will be a new boat.
13   The boat will need to be replaced someday. The issue is when and what new
14   features the new boat will need. The level of service will drive the decision on when
15   to get a new boat.
16
17          In the Flood Control Division, there are three things to mention. One is the
18   creation of the levee maintenance program, which includes a general maintenance
19   program and a flood hazard reduction program. They will have a competitive
20   program for people to apply for. Also, they have made substantial progress this
21   year on the hydraulic modeling project. They have the tool available to do high
22   level analysis of options, development scenarios, and hazard scenarios in the lower
23   Nooksack River.
24
25          In the Solid Waste Division, they completed the groundwater infiltration
26   reduction project. They are seeing reduction in leachate production at Cedarville.
27   Indications are that it is successful.
28
29          In the Water Resources Division, they are still involved in the Water Resource
30   Inventory Area (WRIA) project, and are still making headway. They are moving
31   into phase three. Whatcom County is the only place in the state that is at that
32   point. They are ahead of anyone else in the level of detail and kinds of issues they
33   are tracking. It will still take substantial care to see this through to the end. Next
34   year begins a different level of this project.
35
36         Big items for 2002 include six items that have broad-based ramifications to
37   the department both financially and operationally. All items deserve specific policy
38   discussion throughout the year.
39
40          The first item is changing how they deal with asset management. There is a
41   new standard. They need to deal with a road as an asset, and not just a road.
42   That is not a small matter in terms of the information to collect and analyze.
43   Another part of that is related to an expectation that all agencies must report the
44   system condition and priorities in a consistent manner. It is difficult to get all
45   counties to that level of reporting. It is even more difficulty to get all cities to
46   report at that level. Most cities don’t even have a road inventory.
47




         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 6
 1         Stormwater management next year includes where this county goes
 2   operationally off road, and the role the public sector will pay in managing water
 3   quantity and quality, other than just maintaining a roadside ditch.
 4
 5          Related to the road records and water resource data management, there is a
 6   relationship to make sure that all the systems are in sync. They will not all be
 7   developed at the same time with the same level of sophistication, but they must all
 8   work together.
 9
10         Regarding the road fund and Flood Control Zone District, one of the issues is
11   that he sees revenues flattening, but not declining. Over the next two or three
12   years, they need to be more careful in prioritizing expenditures so they don’t
13   overspend.
14
15        The fee structure from the Flood Control Zone District to finance the Water
16   Resources Division will expire at the end of 2002.
17
18          Brenner asked if Public Works is looking into using the inmate road crew for
19   right-of-way maintenance. Monsen stated now they only pick up litter.
20
21         Brenner stated they are putting a lot of money into stream restoration and
22   enhancement. Right-of-way work around streams is not being maintained. That
23   would be a good place to use the inmate road crew. Monsen stated that from a
24   vegetation management standpoint, the crew is being used through flood control
25   and salmon recovery projects. It is a natural step to include that program into
26   roadside issues as it relates to vegetation management and habitat recovery. He
27   would be happy to talk with the sheriff to expand that program. It will change how
28   they handle vegetation maintenance in critical areas. It will require more hand
29   work.
30
31          Brenner questioned whether the contracting procedures need beefing up to
32   find conflicts. Monsen stated procedures are based on technical qualifications. In
33   some cases, they asked about conflicts of interests. In this case, they need to
34   change the procedure to look more extensively into potential conflicts of interest.
35   That is not easy to do. A perceived conflict is tough for staff to determine.
36
37         Brenner asked to redo the fee structure for the flood control fee based on
38   those who have direct impact and are directly impacted by flooding. She asked if
39   they are going to see more options. Monsen stated he would lay out those issues in
40   the coming year, before they put the proposal on the table.
41
42          Imhof asked if there is a focus to put a cost on the solid waste program with
43   the City of Bellingham. It seems to be a barrier for the private sector to have a
44   composting facility together. He asked if there would be a change in policy to
45   address the issue and put a value on it. Monsen stated he recognizes that they
46   need to discuss that question this year, whether to charge or not charge for some
47   of the facilities. The issue is bigger than that. It brings up the capacity of the
48   Lakeway site compared to an alternate or second site. They have to resolve


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 7
 1   whether it is a free or for fee service. It is a policy issue. There isn't anything in
 2   the proposed budget to deal with it specifically.
 3
 4          Brenner stated there have been studies done that show that, when there is
 5   an extra charge, the recycling drops quite a bit. They end up having to pay when
 6   people dump other places. She asked if that would come to the Council for
 7   discussion. Monsen stated they will do a waste flow assessment. That will help the
 8   policy discussion of having a fee or no fee and how many sites they will have. One
 9   of the significant issues regarding the Lakeway site is policy decisions within the
10   City of Bellingham.
11
12         Crawford stated he heard that the Solid Waste Advisory Committee already
13   voted on a recommendation.
14
15       Brenner stated the recommendation was that a fee be charged, but those
16   members don’t have the information on the studies.
17
18         Crawford asked if the County is participating financially in the Lakeway site.
19   Monsen stated it is. The closest thing the County has in the budget regarding to
20   the Lakeway is the amount of contribution from the Solid Waste fund to pay for that
21   operation. The amount per year is about $90,000.
22
23         Crawford stated it might be appropriate to advocate a fee for service. With
24   no burning laws, this is now a needed service. Fees need to reflect that service.
25
26         Brenner stated that if they charge a fee, there will be more dumping.
27
28          Crawford stated the 2000 actual budget expenditure for Water Resources
29   was $2,601,000. The budgeted amount for 2001 was $2.2 million. He asked if the
30   2001 expenditure is what they actually spent. He is trying to justify the $2.8
31   million for 2002. Monsen stated the budgeted amount would not be expended 100
32   percent, but mostly. Because of WRIA, there is a fluctuation in the budgeted
33   amount depending on the activities of the Joint Board. Next year is a big financial
34   year.
35
36         Crawford stated they actually spent $2.6 million in 2000, but spent less this
37   year. Monsen stated the curve they discussed in the past was an aggressively
38   funded curve. The total expenditure will be about the same, but stretched over a
39   longer period of time.
40
41          Crawford stated the amount for the ferry, $1.26 million, is a separate issue
42   from the proposal to increase the ferry rates. They are looking at the expenditure
43   side instead of the revenue side. At some point they will deal with the ferry rate
44   increase. He questioned whether this budgeted number would change for 2002 if
45   they decide to increase the fee. Monsen stated the fare increase they are
46   discussing deals with the general policy of recovering 55 percent at the fare box.
47   There are increases in expenses that a fare increase is needed to cover. The fare
48   structure would also collect more than the 55 percent. The additional fares will be


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 8
 1   set aside for capital expenditures as part of the ferry planning process. There is
 2   nothing in the 2002 budget that presumes a capital expense.
 3
 4         Brenner questioned whether the Public Works administration costs cover all
 5   the administration costs for all the departments.
 6
 7         (Clerk’s Note: End of tape one, side B.)
 8
 9        Monsen stated it covers most of the general overhead items for all of road
10   expenses. The other funds are going to show allocations for administrative costs.
11
12          Brenner stated she wanted to see something that shows the amount of
13   money that covers administration costs for all of Public Works. Monsen stated he
14   would provide something in writing that is a detailed description of what is in the
15   cost centers. The most significant increase in administrative costs in Public Works
16   has been administrative cost allocations to the general fund.
17
18          Crawford asked about the ASR for temporary floats. There was concurrence
19   that the existing floats could stand upgrading and/or replacement. At the time he
20   looked at them, the estimate was of $200,000. The Council felt it could be done for
21   less than that amount. The ASR was approved for $200,000. He asked if more
22   research was done on the cost since they last discussed it. Monsen stated he has
23   not researched it anymore. The floats that will be purchased will be the floats that
24   are needed. He expects to spend less than $200,000, but he doesn't have a better
25   estimate. He will only spend what is necessary, with Council concurrence.
26
27         Dawson stated the goals and objectives of the shellfish districts points back
28   to sewer overflows. She asked if they are achieving much. Monsen stated that
29   number includes continued support and the new full time equivalent (FTE)
30   employee to focus on marine near shore program areas.
31
32           Bruce Roll, Water Resource Division Manager, stated he just had a
33   presentation at the WRIA watershed planning meeting last night on an early action
34   grant to work at fixing sewer system breaks along Marine Drive. That has been
35   completed. The City of Blaine has installed a series of bladders along Marine Drive.
36   In case of the overflows, the bladders can contain 2,000 to 4,000 gallons to prevent
37   an overflow. They have ongoing strategies and monitoring programs when these
38   new measures are put in place to collect data. They have a volunteer monitoring
39   program working with the City of Blaine, who is doing monitoring to sniff out
40   potential sources. It is done jointly with community members of the shellfish
41   district.
42
43
44   SHERIFF/JAIL
45
46         Dale Brandland, Sheriff, stated they have negatively impacted their ability to
47   respond to calls for services, to get control on the amount spent on overtime.
48   Before last year, a considerable amount of overtime went to officer's writing reports


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 9
 1   at the end of the day. He stopped doing that. His personnel does not clear a call
 2   until a report is written. Staff still writes reports at the end of the day, but that is
 3   when an individual is in custody and they need documentation for the Prosecuting
 4   Attorney by the next business day.
 5
 6          He has also been aggressively pursuing a strategic plan process in the
 7   Sheriff’s Office. He is working to identify priorities for his managers. He is trying to
 8   identify priorities for all phases in the Sheriff's Office and see what they don't need
 9   to do anymore. That has been ongoing. It has taken a back seat to the events of
10   the summer and September 11.
11
12          He has been pursuing grant funding. He and Dave McEachran traveled to
13   Chicago to talk about the issue of what is going on at the border from a federal
14   perspective. This problem is not the case all along the Canadian border. The U.S.
15   Attorney General's office is not doing its job. The County has been pursuing that
16   issue. He made a presentation to all northern border agencies. He has also talked
17   to the congressional delegation about the impacts.
18
19          Unapproved funding priorities involved personnel. He prioritized several
20   positions as high priority. The need is there for more deputies.
21
22         Deane Sandell, Undersheriff, stated the office has dedicated all new
23   employees to patrol functions. Their ability to do the staff services for that is
24   eroded over the years. The clerical help they don’t have is what they tried to
25   address in this budget.
26
27         Imhof stated there is a request for a lot of money for patrol vehicles for the
28   new hires. Sandell stated it is for the new hires approved last year. All the vehicles
29   were not purchased in the 2001 budget.
30
31          Sandell continued to state that the civil service clerk and records specialist
32   positions are priorities. The department has not increased the clerical help for their
33   Civil Division in twenty years. The volume of work in that office has increased
34   dramatically.
35
36         Dawson asked about the request for unstaffed substations. Sandell stated
37   that was a storefront unstaffed substation that would be in the northwest part of
38   the county. It was offered for free, in a sense.
39
40         Brandland stated he wants to implement a station for personnel to go and
41   meet people that would have a sign, but would not be staffed. He wants to see
42   what kind of use it would get throughout the year.
43
44         Brenner asked if approval of some of the requested deputies would help.
45   Brandland stated the clerks are more important. Anytime he can put more deputies
46   on the road, it will have an impact.
47




        Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 10
 1         Brenner asked what money is coming to the County. Brandland stated none
 2   that he knows of. He is starting to finally see a focus on the northern border. It
 3   was a non-issue until September 11.
 4
 5          Brenner asked if it would be helpful for the Council to send a letter.
 6   Brandland stated it would. The letter could suggest that Whatcom County needs
 7   financial relief from the burden it faces.
 8
 9          Brandland stated he is not sure he will ever get to the point of assigning
10   officers to areas near where they live. There are union concerns that are
11   complicated. They do have the deputies respond to the Sheriff's Office for a
12   reason. They need to exchange information and do paperwork. Just a storefront
13   with nothing to go with it doesn't accomplish that much.
14
15          Dawson asked what he would need to go with the storefront. Brandland
16   stated computer links would be important. He would need contractual language
17   approved with the union. Several years ago, $12,000 was put into the budget for a
18   substation. He couldn't spend it because he can't rent a facility and its
19   infrastructure for that amount.
20
21         Sandell stated they spent a portion of that money at Paradise for office
22   computers. At that time, Paradise was paying for deputies, but that program went
23   away.
24
25          Crawford asked if the Sheriff's Office incurred any increased expenses due to
26   the events on September 11. Brandland stated they went into heightened alert.
27   He sent people to the airport to assist with security. He recently has been dealing
28   with the anthrax issue, including the protocols of who handles it and how. The
29   entire issue of terrorism and local potential targets has been the impact to his
30   office. It has been more of an administrative impact than an impact to the average
31   deputy.
32
33          Sandell stated that they also had an officer death at that same time, which
34   impacted the entire staff incredibly. Prior to that, they experienced an officer-
35   involved shooting. This has been a difficult summer.
36
37         Crawford asked about a review of the high-speed chase policy. Brandland
38   stated they went to the accident review board yesterday. That group will bring
39   forward conclusions. He will look at pursuit policies when that board makes its
40   recommendations.
41
42           Dawson asked if there are other options in terms of handling a domestic
43   violence situation. They could remove the person threatened instead of the person
44   being violent. Brandland stated there are legal constraints to doing that. He would
45   like to give a presentation on that process. Deputies deal with many domestic
46   calls. They require two deputies to respond. The deputies are very good at
47   assessing situations. Once the deputies determine whether there is probable




        Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 11
 1   cause, an arrest is mandated. They can’t remove someone and then come back for
 2   that person.
 3
 4         Sandell stated they recognize that they need more deputies to respond to
 5   those kinds of incidents. They have many one-man responses when there should
 6   be two deputies responding. There is too much area to cover and not enough
 7   people to cover it. Councilmember Dawson’s suggested scenario was the historic
 8   procedure for years. They would remove the victim rather than arrest the suspect.
 9   When that happens, they penalize the victim twice.
10
11         Crawford stated he is not second-guessing any actions of the Sheriff, but
12   they will have a more open-minded Council in terms of training dollars given the
13   events of the summer.
14
15         Sandell stated they've kept training costs down over the years because they
16   have not trained to the level they should. They increased this year, and want to
17   continue enhancing next year.
18
19             Dawson asked if a sheriff could be used for investigation for the prosecutor’s
20   office.
21
22          Crawford stated the Prosecuting Attorney is asking for money for a
23   Bellingham police officer. Brandland stated the Prosecuting Attorney went to the
24   Bellingham Police Department because the training curve is high right now, given
25   the new deputies. That is why they decided to allow Bellingham to do that.
26   However, it is more of a Sheriff’s Office responsibility.
27
28          Crawford asked about the High Intensity Drug Traffic Act (HIDTA). The
29   amount of money from the HIDTA grant is less. He questioned whether Whatcom
30   County gets only drug money, between the drug task force, HIDTA, and other
31   grants. Brandland stated the County can recover some money. There is a line item
32   in the budget for the countywide drug fund. Every dollar in asset forfeiture or
33   assessments goes into the countywide drug fund. A Superior Court judge and Mr.
34   McEachran manage it. They never know from one year to the next how much
35   revenue they will bring in. He tries to stay away from revenue projections.
36
37         Crawford asked if the County ever receives real estate assets. Brandland
38   stated it happens, but it is infrequent.
39
40          Sandell stated they’ve seized property several times. That is different from
41   forfeiture. The search and rescue (SAR) building is an old seized building. They
42   seized a house in Ferndale. It took seven years to go through the forfeiture
43   process. Usually, they find that the administrative and court costs are more than
44   the equity level.
45
46           Brandland stated they need to be very cautious about that. The Defense Bar
47   is trying to do away with seizure and forfeiture.
48


         Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 12
 1          Sandell stated HIDTA is very confusing. It is not money that Whatcom
 2   County spends on Whatcom County law enforcement. It does not impact what the
 3   Sheriff does. It is a service that Whatcom County performs for other law
 4   enforcement agencies in Whatcom County and the federal government. It is
 5   federal money run through the Whatcom County budget to fund Customs and the
 6   Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), not the Sheriff's Office.
 7
 8           Brandland stated the focus regarding the jail has remained on alternatives to
 9   incarceration. They continue to focus on alternatives. The sergeant in charge of
10   alternatives is working on a business plan. They are trying to make the alternatives
11   unit revenue-neutral, so it pays for itself. People do not see the benefit that
12   Whatcom County and other agencies receive by the work these crews do. There is
13   not a dollar amount in the budget that shows the amount of money saved by the
14   jail alternative crews doing this work.
15
16          Imhof stated the public needs to know the value they are getting for the
17   service out there. He asked for one page of information that shows the value.
18   Brandland stated all the participants are required to go through a substance abuse
19   evaluation, such as an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program when they get off work.
20
21           Wendy Jones, Corrections Lieutenant, stated it qualifies as an intensive
22   outpatient program, in conjunction with St. Joseph's Hospital. The Sheriff's Office
23   budgets about $22,000. St. Joseph's Hospital finds other money to fund the
24   balance. Those folks who need intensive inpatient care receive it. The inmates get
25   sober and clean, and stay sober and clean on the alternative programs, because
26   they are closely monitored. There seems to be a reduction in the re-offense rate.
27   They have a 75 percent re-offense rate for the jail, and a 38 percent re-offense rate
28   for folks who finish the alternative programs.
29
30          Imhof stated the location is very convenient. Brandland stated the court has
31   given them a lot of latitude that is not seen around the state.
32
33         Jones stated they will see that latitude extend to Superior Court in the next
34   30 days. They are working on the details of a similar agreement.
35
36           Imhof stated there is an increase by six percent in the jail budget, which is
37   made up of upgrades for small items that add up. He questioned whether any of
38   the non-recommended ASR’s are critically necessary. Jones stated three are
39   critical. In addition, they can always use more corrections officers. One of the
40   three critical ASR's is for the Visiting Nurse Personal Services (VNPS). The number
41   of inmates who are ill have increased significantly. The number of people the
42   nurses are dealing with has increased about 250 percent in the past three years.
43   They are still working with the same staffing levels.
44
45         (Clerk’s Note: End of tape two, side A.)
46
47         Jones continued to state medical costs in general are going up, so VNPS
48   needs to raise wages for their nurses. They are also bringing in a .8 FTE that is a


        Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 13
 1   medical clerk to schedule appointments, track down medical records, do filing, and
 2   other clerical duties. They now have registered nurses (RN's) and licensed nurse
 3   practitioners (LPN's) doing the clerical duties. They need the nurses to do hands-on
 4   clinical care. VNPS can hire the clerk at a lower rate of pay than the County. That
 5   is why they need to get that contract signed for next year.
 6
 7         Imhof asked for further information on that program in writing.
 8
 9          Jones stated the second critical ASR is for a GED instructor. That is a service
10   that is mandated by State law and County ordinance. She was notified by
11   Whatcom Community College that there would be a $3,000 total increase for next
12   year. Whatcom County's half of that is $1,500.
13
14          The last critical ASR is the Equipment Revolve and Rental (ER&R) fund costs
15   for $3,000 for the bus donated by the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA).
16
17         Imhof stated he has also seen increases in the ER&R rates.
18
19          Brandland stated a fourth ASR was requested because of a change in doctors
20   last year. They have seen a complete turnaround in the way they are doing
21   business. The previous doctor didn’t want to monitor nursing care or schedules.
22   The new doctor has spent a great deal of his own time working with the nurses.
23   He’s available by phone all the time. They asked for an increase of $20,000, and
24   $12,000 was approved.
25
26          Jones stated the doctor is now getting $30,000 per year. There was an
27   increase in services, so it is not just a salary increase. This new doctor is very cost-
28   effective for the County. Since the beginning of the year, the number of inmates
29   the new doctor has seen has gone up 90 percent. At the same time, the number of
30   inmates they've had to send to the hospital for medical issues has decreased 70
31   percent.
32
33         Brandland stated they are going to pay that increase anyway. It is a good
34   bang for the buck.
35
36         Brandland continued to state that this committee talked about the impact of
37   the events on September 11 earlier in the discussion. It has definitely impacted the
38   jail.
39
40           Jones stated the jail lost three officers to active duty for at least a year, and
41   will lose another person next week. For 2.5 years prior to September 11, they've
42   reduced the overtime costs by 20 percent. She can’t promise that they will keep
43   overtime costs down now.
44
45         Imhof questioned denial of the ASR for the number of beds contracted for the
46   work release program. Jones stated the ASR for a per-bed increase in work release
47   was approved. Those two ASR's were rolled into one approved ASR. One ASR was




        Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 14
 1   for a $1 per day increase in the bed rate. That is offset with revenue that the
 2   inmates generate. The other ASR was an increase in use from 32 beds to 50 beds.
 3
 4         Dawson asked how many vans they've purchased from WTA. Jones stated
 5   they've purchased seven.
 6
 7
 8   ADJOURN
 9
10         The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
11
12
13   ______________________________
14   Jill Nixon, Minutes Transcription
15
16
17   ATTEST:                                      WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL
18                                                WHATCOM COUNTY, WASHINGTON
19
20
21
22   ______________________________               ___________________________
23   Dana Brown-Davis, Council Clerk              Robert Imhof, Committee Chair




        Finance and Administrative Service Committee - 2002 Budget, 10/25/2001, Page 15

				
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