DUKES COUNTY ADVISORY BOARD
June 10, 2004
County Administration Building
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman John Early called the meeting to order at 4:10 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, Sheriff Michael A. McCormack, and Executive Assistant Brian S. Kinal, who took these minutes.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Smadbeck made a motion, seconded by Mr. Combra, to approve the minutes of the May 20 meeting, as amended. The motion passed unanimously.
The County Manager had two announcements:
Ø A public meeting on the SSA’s standby policy will be conducted Wednesday, June 16, at 5 p.m. at the VTA, 11 A Street in the Airport Business Park. The meeting is being sponsored by the County of Dukes County.
Ø The County is sponsoring a seminar on the Public Records Law on Wednesday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at the VTA. It is for any employee of town government and regional agencies; police departments; journalists, and the public at large.
Mr. Davis gave a PowerPoint presentation on the draft, balanced budget for FY-05, which was approved by the Dukes County Commission on June 9, 2004. He said balancing the budget relies on assessing the towns -- off budget -- for a total of $31,000 for Veteran’s Agent services. As Mr. Davis explained, the individual towns within Dukes County once had their own Veteran’s Agents. For consistency of service to veterans, and to reduce expenses, town officials agreed in the early 1980s to have a county Veteran’s Agent who would serve all the towns. In return the towns would contribute, in the same proportion as their annual County assessment, to the expenses of the Veteran’s Agent office. The enabling state legislation for this agreement was enacted in 1982 and is still in effect, Mr. Davis
Mr. Israel said he would oppose such a charge for the Veteran’s Agent. He said it would set a precedent for the County to make off-budget charges to the towns for other services in the future. He suggested instead the possibility of eliminating the Water Testing Lab instead of reducing its budget and redirecting its activities to other public health issues.
Mr. Davis replied that the charge to the towns for Veteran’s Agent services is not a “charge-back” like those prescribed under a different state law regarding county services in general. The charge for Veteran’s Agent services is specifically provided in the 1982 law written for Dukes County, and is not subject to Advisory Board approval, he said.
(Mr. Israel had another obligation, and left the meeting at 4:50 p.m.)
Mr. Smadbeck said the County should check with the Edgartown Health Agent to make sure the new County Health and Environment Department is not duplicating services already being performed, such as wastewater testing.
County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders made a presentation on the various changes contained in the draft budget compared to the earlier draft submitted to the Advisory Board.
The Advisory Board scheduled a public hearing on the budget for Wednesday, June 30, at 7 p.m. at the Administration Building.
Mr. Combra said he was concerned about the county’s plan to expand the scope of activities of the former Water Testing Lab. He said the private sector is providing some of the same services as those planned by the county.
Sheriff McCormack offered the opinion that County-provided services might be cheaper than those offered by the private sector. As an example, he said the services he received from the County Rodent Control Officer were far less expensive than what private firms charged.
Chairman Early said he would like more time to study the latest budget draft.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
Brian S. Kinal