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Lane County Budget Shortfall Projected at $7.8 Million for Fiscal Year 2011-2012
by Scott Rohter, June 2011

Talking about balancing the Lane County Budget recently, Peter Sorenson said that if you don’t look at raising revenue, “you’re just going at balancing the budget with an axe.”  The fact that we even have a budget gap, is due in large part to the County’s defense of him, and his fellow commissioner Rob Handy, who were sued and found to be guilty of willfully violating the Oregon Public Meetings Law!  The legal bills for their little escapade cost Lane County over $700,000!  In a separate effort to settle a related, potential civil lawsuit, against Lane County, stemming from the same violations of the Public Meetings Law, former Commissioner Bill Fleenor also cost the County another $90,000, when he tried to help cover up for the violations of his fellow Commissioners on the Board, by allegedly intimidating a County administrative aid who witnessed the violations!

Peter Sorenson, who should have been held legally responsible for paying his own legal bills, and the bills of the plaintiffs, but instead was left off the hook for all but $20,000 of the bill, now wants the taxpayers of Lane County to ‘fork over’ more of their hard-earned money, to bridge the County’s budget gap!   Over my dead body!  Not one red cent to bridge a budget gap that was caused in large part by his illegal misconduct while in office!  If we have to lay off one county employee, freeze anybody’s wages, or eliminate one jail bed at the Lane County Jail in this fiscal year, at least 15% of the blame falls squarely upon the rather droopy shoulders of Peter Sorenson and his fellow ‘co-conspirators,' Rob Handy and Bill Fleenor!

Now Peter wants to raise fees on everything from a building permit to a marriage license!  He probably won’t need either of those anytime soon, since the last time I heard, he was living with his girlfriend in South Eugene! 

Here is my ten-point plan to balance the Lane County Budget:

Ten-Point Budget Plan
  1. Require Sorenson and Handy to pay their own legal bills!    
    Net Savings $700,000.

  2. Refuse to pay the request for damages in the settlement offer to Rudy Chavarria.    
    Estimated Savings $90,000.

  3. Refuse to pay any damages resulting from a frivolous lawsuit brought against former Justice of the Peace, Cynthia Sinclair!
    Net Savings $82,000

  4. Get several different legal opinions on the advisability of Lane County declaring bankruptcy.

  5. If the opinions are generally favorable, Lane County should declare bankruptcy!

  6. Renegotiate all public employees union contracts!  We don’t necessarily need less workers.  We need to demand that the workers we have, do more for less!  You’ve all seen the typical work ethic of most public employees, which is why it can be correctly said that it takes seven public employees to dig a ditch!  Two to hold up a sign.  One to hold the shovel.  One to dig the ditch.  Another to sweep up the dirt, and two more to supervise the effort!

  7. Require all public employees to contribute into their own IRA, and health insurance plans!

  8. Eliminate automatic, yearly cost-of-living adjustments (COLA’s).

  9. Require inmates at the Lane County Jail to pay for their own room and board!  It is not a country club or a resort!  It should be run like a business though.  Charge them $39.95 per night, just like the ‘Motel 6'!  And no more free Cokes!  Make them work for any privileges they receive!

  10. Finally, take a good, long, hard look at Lane County Mental Health.  The largest salaries in the county are at Lane County Mental Health!  The top administrative salaries there are siphoning off way too much money from our County’s limited resources.

That is my plan for balancing Lane County’s Budget.  I sincerely hope you’ve had a good laugh or two over my budget proposal! It will probably never happen, but if you like my plan you can address your comments to:

"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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