The County of Dukes County
Advisory Board Minutes 2004-07-29
Thursday, July 29, 2004
County Administration Building

Chairman John Early called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.

A quorum was present, with the following members in attendance: Mr. Early of West Tisbury (15.11%), Arthur Smadbeck of Edgartown (31.4%), Warren Doty of Chilmark (18.51%), and Tristan Israel of Tisbury (15.06%). Richard Combra of Oak Bluffs (14.88%) arrived at 7:25 p.m., after the minutes were approved but before the other votes. Absent were Carl Widdis of Aquinnah (3.81%) and Kris Lombard of Gosnold (1.23%). Other county officials and employees present included: County Commission Chairman John Alley and Vice Chairman Robert Sawyer; Commissioners Leslie H. Leland and Leonard Jason Jr.; County Manager E. Winn Davis; Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders; Sheriff Michael McCormack; Register Of Deeds Dianne E. Powers; Engineer Steve Berlucchi; Veteran’s Agent JoAnn Murphy; Health Access Coordinator Sarah Kuh; Rodent Control Agent T.J. Hegarty; Retirement Administrator Cynthia Schilling; Assistant Treasurer/Parking Clerk Carol Grant; Water Lab Assistant Kendra Read; and Executive Assistant Brian S. Kinal, who took these minutes.

Mr. Smadbeck made a motion, seconded by Mr. Doty, to approve the minutes of the July 7 meeting, as presented. The motion passed unanimously on a roll-call vote as follows: Mr. Smadbeck, yes; Mr. Israel, yes; Mr. Doty, yes; Mr. Early, yes.

The Advisory Board conducted a public hearing on the proposed FY-05 budget. It began with a presentation by County Manager E. Winn Davis.  Mr. Davis first enumerated all of the services provided by county government. He then explained that the county is limited to a 2.5 percent annual increase in assessment to the towns. In FY-05, that increase will raise about $17,865 in additional revenue, he said. Of that amount, $16,333 will be spent on the mandated 2.5% increases to the Sheriff’s Office and Registry of Deeds, leaving the county with only about $1,532 in additional revenue. Meanwhile, he said, unavoidable increases in utilities, insurance and payroll will total an additional $72,304 in FY-05, Mr. Davis said.

To deal with the deficit, Mr. Davis said the county has found ways to increase revenue, has cut back on spending, and has looked for efficiencies. Yet even after those measures, the proposed budget still showed a deficit of $35,000.  That amount could be made up, he said, if the towns complied with a 1982 state statute providing for them to contribute annually to the cost of the Veteran’s Agent.

Mr. Davis also made two suggestions for the future financial well-being of the county: One, develop new revenue sources that will not put an added burden on Vineyard residents, and could, in fact, even lighten their load; and two, work more closely with the Advisory Board during the year.  County Commission Chairman Mr. Alley said the Commission and administration worked hard on the budget over many months, and he appealed to the Advisory Board to approve it.

Mr. Early then sought public comment. He went through the proposed income budget line by line, and then the proposed expense budget department-by-department, soliciting comment. He also read several letters of support for the Rodent Control program, and one for the Natural Resources Department.

There was a discussion about increasing the towns’ assessment to pay for the Veteran’s Agent. Noreen Mavro Flanders, Treasurer identified two (2) assessments shown on the budget for each town; one for the Veterans’ Department in accordance with Chapter 128 of the Acts and Resolves of 1982; and one for the general County operating budget.  Considerable discussion ensued with Mssrs. Smadbeck, Combra and Israel.  Mr. Israel made a motion to reject the assessment increase to pay for the Veteran’s Agent, but the motion did not receive a second.

Prior to the vote on the proposed budget, Chairman Early praised Mr. Davis, the Dukes County Commissioners, and department heads for their work on the budget. “It was a very good experience,” he said of the budget process. Mr. Davis extended the praise to Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders.

Mr. Smadbeck made a motion to approve the proposed FY-05 budget, as presented. Mr. Doty seconded. The motion carried unanimously on a roll-call vote, as follows: Mr. Smadbeck, yes; Mr. Combra, yes; Mr. Israel, yes; Mr. Doty, yes; Mr. Early, yes.

Mr. Israel made a motion, seconded by Mr. Combra, to adjourn. The vote was unanimous in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 8:06 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Brian S. Kinal