May 20, 2004
County Administration Building
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman John Early called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.
A quorum of 94.96 % was present. In addition to Mr. Early of West Tisbury (15.11 %), the following board members attended: Arthur Smadbeck of Edgartown (31.4 %), Warren Doty of Chilmark (18.51 %), Tristan Israel of Tisbury (15.06 %), and Richard Combra of Oak Bluffs (14.88 %). The following board members were absent: Carl Widdis of Aquinnah (3.81 %) and Kris Lombard of Gosnold (1.23 %).
Other county officials and employees present were County Manager E. Winn Davis, Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders, Special Sheriff David O’Sullivan, and Executive Assistant Brian S. Kinal, who took these minutes.
Mr. Davis gave a presentation on the preliminary figures for the FY-05 operating budget. He said the current projected deficit is $119,487.17.
Mr. Davis provided a recent history of county spending and assessments to the town, referencing spending and tax levies by the towns themselves. He said that since 1979, town tax levies have increased by 400 to 800 percent, while the county’s assessment to the towns increased by only 13 percent. He said the county has had only one tax-limit override since 1990, for $150,000, while the towns in the same period had over 150 overrides totaling $15,567,899.
He reiterated that county programmatic expenses have increased by $300,000 in recent years because of added services such as engineering, rodent control, veterans affairs, and the Vineyard Health Care Access Program. Yet there has not been a commensurate increase in revenue, he said.
The County Manager said several solutions to the funding problem are being studied. One is a charge-back to the towns for engineering and other services, based on actual usage by the individual towns. Mr. Smadbeck, with the concurrence of others, said his town would discourage the use of charge-backs to raise revenue.
At least four other alternative sources of revenue are being explored by a County Commission subcommittee, Mr. Davis related:
v State Beach parking permits.
v A 1% deed transfer tax.
v A room tax.
v A meal tax.
Mr. Davis said County Commissioners would continue budget deliberations at their next meeting May 26, and he invited Advisory Board members to attend if they wished. Mr. Early said it might be advisable at some point to schedule a meeting on the budget between the County Commissioners and the Advisory Board.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Israel made a motion, seconded by Mr. Combra, to approve the minutes of the April 29 meeting, as presented. The motion passed unanimously.
The next meeting was set for Thursday, June 10, at 4 p.m. at the Administration Building. The focus will be the FY-05 budget.
Mr. Smadbeck moved to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Israel, and the motion passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 5 p.m.
Brian S. Kinal