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Advisory Board Minutes 2008-12-10
December 10, 2008

Members Present:        Chairman Arthur Smadbeck (AS) – Edgartown 34.29%
                        Ronald DiOrio (RD) – Oak Bluffs 15.52%
                        Denys Wortman (DW) – Tisbury 15.19%
                        Frank M. Fenner (FF) – Chilmark 16.12%
                        Skipper Manter (SM) – West Tisbury 14.20%
                        Jim Newman (JN) – Aquinnah 3.30%

Guests present: Chairman of the County Commissioner Leslie Leland
County Manager Russell H. Smith
                        Exec. Assistant to County Manager Martina Thornton
                        County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders
                        Register of Deeds Dianne Powers
                        Airport Manager Sean Flynn

Chairman Smadbeck called the meeting to order at 12:05pm.

1.Noreen presented revenue sheet and expense sheet as of October 30, 2009 and explained that we are not meeting the revenues –see attached. We should have 58% remaining to collect and we have 61.9% remaining. The only account exceeding revenues is Integrated Pest Management. On the expense side there will be no interest expense or county debt expense with the total $37.5K that was intended for the Courthouse roof. We have 150K to do the roof from the State. We also have a savings in the County Commissioners account due to the Manager being on contract and not eligible for health insurance and some savings on wages. We asked the Department Heads to reduce their budgets by 10-15%.

2. FY10 budget discussion. The Auditors told us that we shouldn’t use money from the reserve fund to cover operating expenses as we did for FY09. We have $117K left. Noreen stated that not giving COLAs would save about 3%. We will budget for 7% increase in health insurance but adjust it after the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group approves new rates for FY10 in January 2009.  We should start with zero base budgeting. The union contracts are open and Noreen suggested to negotiate different ration of contribution to health insurance from 90/10 to 75/25 maybe done in increments over 3 year period. We would have to do a one-time adjustment in the salary scale. This change should be for current employees only, not the retired ones (about 40 people, out of which only 4 would not be eligible for Medicare after 65).

3. Russell Smith informed the CAB that Bike Path built along the West Tisbury Road between Hostel and Police Station incurred extra cost of $15K for aprons that were not part of the original bid. The County Engineer, who had overseen the project, approved the aprons. It was agreed that it should have not been done without a change order. It was agreed that each party would assume 1/3 of the cost – Town of West Tisbury (path committee), County and Contractor. The county engineer advised the Town to include in the budget for the project 10% for contingencies. The Town did not do it. The County Commissioner voted to pay the $5K. Sean said that it could be covered under the errors and omissions insurance. The county engineer is not with the county anymore. He was a subcontractor for the County and was paid a salary by the County. The towns had an option to hire him at a reduced hourly rate for their projects. The payments from the towns were made to the County. Noreen said that she needs to look into where the money could come from other then the unreserved fund.
AS suggested to move on as this is not ready to be voted on yet.

4. Vineyard Health Care Access Program (VHCAP) and the Integrated Pest Management Program (IPMP) were funded last year using 50% from the County and 50% from the Towns with an agreement that for FY10 it will be 40% County and 60% Towns. VHCAP is worried that they will not get all the funding from grants that covered 1/3 of their budget last year and would like to ask for extra money from towns. The County was asked to do level funding for FY10. That is why there will be 3 articles submitted to towns. The 3rd article will come directly from the VHCAP asking for extra $52K island -wide. AS suggested to put in the 3rd article that it will only be triggered if they do not get the grants. Noreen noted that the county articles are based on equalized valuations, which will change in February 2009. The County will let the towns know what the final percentages and amounts are as soon as we get them. AS- suggested including an explanation on the coversheet of the articles. SM- suggested to base the 3rd article on the 50/50 formula (same as the DCRHA uses) – 50% equalized valuation and 50% population as a more fair formula. He also suggested looking into the way these programs are funded in the future especially since the towns will overtime take over financing those programs. DW- suggested discussing this at the All-island Selectmen’s Meeting.

5. Dianne Powers presented a scenario on how the shift from 90/10 to 75/25 health insurance split would affect an employee at grade 6, step 1. It would result in $2,394 loss in pay after step increases. AS said that there could be a one time salary adjustment to cover the average increase. This should save money in the long run and put the county in line with towns. Noreen said that the two other entities that have the 90/10 split are the MV Commission and the MV Land Bank. They were never bound by the 2.5% that the County is bound by. Their increases sometimes were more then 2.5%; they try to keep it under 5% annually. Would it be your suggestions as Selectmen to your representatives to those organizations to change the % split also? SM said it would be a good example by the county and we could insist to those organizations to do it too.

RD asked Sean Flynn where are we in the negotiations with the unions. Sean said that at this point if they brought it up it would be considered recessive bargaining. We could not bring it up to the table because the County Commissioners did not make the decision yet and this needs to happen collectively for all county employees. He can go back to them for impact bargaining once the decision is made and a plan is developed with timelines on how it will be implemented. FF pointed out that the adjustments should be made based on the cost of the family plan for all the positions. RD said that there are different options, there could be a one time buy back. Noreen said there could be a different % for each plan, but it would have to be the same % for all the employees (Falmouth does that). Sean said that the Mass Municipal Association put forward a change in the legislation that makes us go back and impact bargain the changes in health benefits.    

It was MOVED by Art Smadbeck to adjourn. Seconded by Skipper Manter. So VOTED, unanimous.

Meeting adjourned at 1pm.

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