District operations is the administrative and management part of the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District. The district operations team provides the support needed for the District to implement conservation practices and to function smoothly…things like keeping the vehicles running and paying the bills, and making sure that board directors and staff have what they need to succeed.
In November, Clackamas SWCD published three program-based monthly reports:
- The Prickly Thistle: A November 2017 WeedWise update
- Conservation Outreach Insight for November
- The Monthly Plan-it: Updates from the Conservation Planning Program – November 2017
You can find monthly reports at this address: https://conservationdistrict.org/tag/monthly-report
Administration and Management Team
Our four-person team is shown near the bottom of our District Staff page at https://conservationdistrict.org/about/district-staff.
Tami is our intake person. When you call the Clackamas SWCD main phone number, you will usually reach Tami. She does much more than this, though! She also prepares invoices, assists with payroll processing, serves as our vehicle fleet manager, and keeps the Clackamas SWCD running well.
Eann is our contracts person. If you have a cost-sharing agreement or a loan from Clackamas SWCD, you have talked with Eann. She does many other things for us, too, including taking the lead on our equipment rental program and helping to manage property owned by Clackamas SWCD.
Tom works directly with the Board of Directors and staff, providing day-to-day direction to staff as needed to assure that Board-approved policies are followed and that customers are well served by Clackamas SWCD.
Nathan maintains our books and financial policies. He has made many improvements to the way Clackamas SWCD operates, including implementing a new fund-based accounting system. As you’ll read in this report, he is also working on transitioning our payroll system to a new provider.
What these very brief descriptions don’t spell out is the integrated way that this team operates. For example, three of us have roles in payroll processing and handling of loans, and all four of us work on monthly expenditures and the annual budget.
New fund accounting system
Clackamas SWCD implemented a new accounting system at the start of our current fiscal year on July 1, 2017. The Abila MIP Fund Accounting System is a true double-entry accounting system. We are finding it to be significantly more robust than our previous solution.
This new system allows us to track expenditures with more detail than before. That means we can generate better reports of costs for various activities and projects, helping us stay within our allocated spending limits. We expect that having better information will also support better projections of future expenditures.
Our focus in November was resolving issues with fund balances that arose with the transition from the old accounting system to the new system.
New payroll processing vendor on the horizon
We have been with one payroll provider for many years, but issues over the past few years have caused us to seek a new vendor. Clackamas SWCD plans to move to a new payroll processing vendor on January 1, 2018.
Annual audit nearing completion
In between the growing pains with the new accounting system and our work to move to a new payroll service, we also completed work on the Clackamas SWCD’s annual audit. The auditor will complete the final audit report in time for the District’s annual meeting on December 19.
Property tax revenue received
November is the month when most of the property tax revenue for Clackamas SWCD is received. Clackamas SWCD must operate within the limits of funding and appropriations for a 12-month period. The District draws from those funds throughout the year, until they are replenished next November.
Clackamas County voters passed Measure 3-221 in 2006 to support the Clackamas SWCD’s proposed conservation activities. The availability of stable funding has allowed Clackamas SWCD to expand programs and services in Clackamas County. The District’s Board of Directors and staff remain very grateful that voters authorized this tax, and we strive to deliver services efficiently with the money entrusted to our care.
In November, Clackamas SWCD deposited $2,044,365.74 into our main savings account. Interest earned in November was $1,869.05.
Budgeting process coming up soon
The District Operations team and the three program managers (Jason, Lisa, and Sam) are beginning to discuss the development of the next annual budget. This budget will be for fiscal year 2018-2019 (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019).
We expect to follow the same steps we used for the current budget. We also expect that the new budget will be very similar to the current budget, with the exception of the Conservation Services Department. That department is a grouping of the conservation planning team, the outreach and education team, and the WeedWise team. It is likely that the proposed budget will eliminate the Conservation Services Department and describe each of these three teams as departments. The new fund accounting system is set up to help us track the expenses related to activities in each of these program areas.
District farm in Beavercreek
Repair of the century barn
Repairs to the old barn at the Beavercreek farm have been documented here, here, here, and most recently here. Exterior repair of the south and southwest walls has been completed, with the exception of the barn door on the lower level.
Work on the barn in 2017 revealed some additional work that will need to be done in the next few years. A few more beams are getting soft from rot, and the roof trusses on the south end of the barn are also getting soft. Fortunately, the repair work done this year has established a strong foundation to continue repairs in future years on these other issues.
Construction of a new office and meeting facility
Clackamas SWCD occupies an office facility in Oregon City, Oregon that was created by converting an old lumber store to offices. We have few complaints about our current office, but three issues create significant challenges: lack of adequate parking, lack of workshop space, and lack of on-site conservation demonstrations.
In 2013, Clackamas SWCD purchased a 15-acre property in Beavercreek, Oregon. Owning the Beavercreek Farm has provided us with opportunities to engage in a number of activities, including birding, guest presentations by conservation speaks, and donations of hay harvested from the fields.
Clackamas SWCD directors and staff have long dreamed of having a facility where our farm customers could park their big farm trucks, where we could hold workshops in a central location in Clackamas County, and where we could have examples of conservation practices available just outside the door. To help us move from dreams to reality, conceptual plans have been crafted for a new office and meeting facility. The conceptual plans include space for our federal agency conservation partners.
On November 9, 2017, Clackamas SWCD submitted to Clackamas County a “conditional use permit to develop a government bldg. on an RA-2 zoned property.” This starts the permitting process for a new facility we are calling the Conservation Resource Center.
On November 24, 2017, Clackamas SWCD published draft findings of fact for the construction management/general contractor alternate form of procurement. On the same day, we published the hearing notice in the Daily Journal of Commerce.
On Friday, December 8, 2017, Clackamas SWCD will hold a public hearing on the draft findings of fact.
Funding for the Conservation Resource Center has not yet been finalized.
As the end of the calendar year approaches, the management team is reviewing employee performance evaluation forms. Management staff will make revisions and annual employee evaluations will begin in January.
My job as the general manager really amounts to managing expectations and activities on a day-to-day basis within the framework of the budget and employee performance. The annual budget and employee performance reviews provide high-level structure that help our people work together to accomplish the District’s goals.
Should you have questions, please contact General Manager Tom Salzer: