COUNTY OF DUKES COUNTY
ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
April 17, 2009
Members Present: Chairman Arthur Smadbeck (AS)- Edgartown 34.29%
Denys Wortman (DW) – Tisbury 15.19%
Frank M. Fenner (FF) – Chilmark 16.12%
Skipper Manter (SM) – West Tisbury 14.20%
Also Present: Chairman of the County Commissioners Lenny Jason
County Commissioner Les Leland
County Manager Russell H. Smith
Exec. Assistant Martina Thornton
County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders
Nelson Sigelman – MV Times
Art Smadbeck thanked Denys Wortman for his service on the Board, as this is his last meeting.
FY09 Budget Transfers presented. See attached.
Noreen explained the transfer requests line by line and said that in total without the Airport the anticipated income is being reduced by $80K and the expense by $82K. AS asked why did we decide to adjust for the 30K allocated for the Courthouse roof repair. Mr. Jason said that the Commissioners received report showing significant decrease in income from the Registry of Deeds and they decided to reduce the projected expense to keep the budget in balance. They asked the County Department Heads to reduce their budgets by 10-15%. The last line of the cover sheet reflects the Airport’s supplemental request No.1, which is reduction in their budget of $715K. The total reduction in the County budget is about $800K.
Health Council (line 1510) requested that all but $100 from their budget would be transferred to the VHCAP (line 1510) – $3,900. Noreen and Russell are presenting it as a separate request to the Advisory Board as they do not feel it is the Health Council’s prerogative to transfer money to a different department. SM said that this would be extra savings that should be reflected as part of the first spreadsheet. AS asked that if the Health Council is not using the money, why do we keep including it in the budget? Lenny said that this year the Tribe did pay for most of the Health Council’s expenses through their program and as the Access Program was short on grant money they would like to support the program.
SM said that the savings on the budgeted expense for courthouse roof repair - $37.5K, was for capital expense and he feels it should stay in the budget. Noreen said that she could leave it in there and reduce the anticipated income only by $42.5K instead of $80K to keep the budget still in balance. Russell said that we were able to get an earmark in the state budget to get the money for the repair. Noreen said that if we knew we would not need the money for the repair, we would take 37.5K less from the county’s unreserved fund; we took $90K out to balance the FY09 budget. It would not reduce the amount the county is assessing the towns.
FF moved to approve the transfers as presented with the exception of the Health Council request. DW seconded. So voted. West Tisbury - no, Tisbury - yes, Chilmark – yes, Edgartown - yes. Motion carries.
FY10 budget proposal presented. See attached.
Noreen explained that the proposal shows the original requests by the departments, next column shows the adjustments make by the county commissioners’ budget sub-committee, including elimination of the Master Medical health insurance plan, reduction of expense for the Cape & Islands EMS to $2K, lease with the Sheriff for the back lot building for $12K and an agreement the County Manager negotiated with the Trustee of Reservation to lease the Norton Point Beach for $45K. There is a pending legislation regarding the Sheriff’s transfer over to the State. If the legislation will pass with amendment as presented that the County will not have to pay for the Sheriff’s retirees’ health benefits ($82K), the bottom line of FY2010 budget would be $105K in black.
Russell said the contract with the Trustees of the Reservation is not signed yet. There is also a provision in the agreement that if their gross income goes more then 20% over or under last year’s gross income, the County’s share would be adjusted by that amount.
There is also a provision to make sure that they do not increase the price of the beach permits by more then certain percentage a year.
The County Commissioners did not approve the FY2010 budget yet. Noreen said that we are waiting to see what will happen with the Sheriff’s Bill before finalizing the budget.
Nelson Sigelman asked that if the County has an additional 50K from the Cape & Island License plates in FY2009 and the income from the beach is expected to be 18K, why is this not shown on the spreadsheets. Noreen explained that this is a budget sheet, not a financial statement and it might have been less confusing if she did not include the reduction in anticipated revenue and only presented the transfers in appropriation. Nelson asked when would the additional information show up before the Commissioners and the Advisory Board to make informed decision. Noreen said she would present the actual financial situation to the Commissioners and the Board when she gives then the reports for the whole fiscal year and offered to provide Mr. Sigelman with the current financial statements. We only budgeted $5K for the income
from the Trustees as last year we received $3400 and it did not come until August 2008 for the FY2008 and the year before we did not get any money from the Trustees at all. The $18K is projected income to us but we do not know what it would be in fact and when we will get it. Russell said that the new contract calls for the payment to us before December of the same year.
West Tisbury Bike Path
Follow up on the discussion from the last meeting. We have agreement from the Town of West Tisbury and the Contractor to split the additional cost for the aprons to the bike path done without a change order, equally between the three parts. The County Commissioners support this solution. It would mean paying $5K from the County’s unreserved fund. Russell checked with the former county engineer and he does not have errors and omissions insurance.
FF moved, DW seconded to move $5,131 from the unreserved fund to pay one third of the expense to the contractor. So voted. West Tisbury – yes, Edgartown – yes, Tisbury – yes, Chilmark-yes. Unanimous.
At the All-island selectmen’s meeting it was agreed that the County would be a good vehicle to keep the animal shelter going. We have put together committee of ACO’s and representatives from each town. Russell presented a draft budget proposal for operation of the shelter. We need skilled people to run the shelter. The crematorium is not included in budget for several reasons – it might be a moneymaker, but it is recommended to be replaced. Noreen set up fund for donations to the shelter; we received about $4.5K so far. Russell presented the new shelter budget in comparison to the MSPCA’s last year’s budget. See attached. The MSPCA budget was unclear on what some lines represent and we tried to project our budget with the information we could get and with respect to the situation. We
did not receive any information about their payroll cost. We would like to start on 6-month basis. We are suggesting employing 3 people on part-time bases with no benefits. After the firs 6 months we will go through regular public hiring process, after we collect more data and prepare a long-term plan. There will be a volunteer Board of Directors to oversee the operation as the private piece in the private-public collaboration. AS thanked Russell and the County for taking this task on. FF asked about any other expenses. Noreen said there would be 15% extra for taxes and Medicare. The liability and property insurance would be $250 a year. The first 6 months would be for the county budget purpose broken down to 2 months in FY09 and 4 months in FY10. We divided the yearly cost per town based on population as every person has a right to have a pet. We need from the towns letters stating that they would reimburse the county reserve fund based on this formula. We do not expect the cost
to be more then $10K per year for Edgartown, Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, $5K for West Tisbury, $1.5K for Chilmark. Russell would like members to bring the proposed budget to the Board of Selectmen in their town and present this request. AS said he will fight for it as a person, but cannot promise anything as a Selectmen or town representative. DW will put it before the Tisbury Selectmen. SM said that the County did a good job and that he will bring it before the Selectmen in West Tisbury. He suggested using the 50/50 formula used by the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority instead. AS supported the 50/50 formula. Noreen asked the Advisory Board to vote to transfer funds from the unreserved fund to be used for the animal shelter operation for the 2 months in FY09.
SM moved, FF seconded to approve spending $16K from the unreserved fund for the operation of the animal shelter. West Tisbury – yes, Edgartown –yes, Tisbury – yes, Chilmark –yes. Unanimous.
Nelson asked why the money should be repaid by the taxpayers and not absorbed by the county. AS said that the Advisory Board was working with the County Commissioners to take out from the county services all non-mandated programs that the county does and put it before the voters at the town meetings to decide if they want to fund those programs or not. Russell added that the County has a 2.5% cap on increase of the assessments to the towns and it kept it at that level for 20 years and did not ask for an override. As the expenses are increasing yearly by more then 2.5%, the slope in financial ability of the County is going down and it is not possible to keep providing the same level of services or add services without an additional income.
DW said that the Health Council and VHCAP are both in health care business. SM said that one budget has extra and one budget is short but the transfer should not be done this way. AS that this amount should not increase their budget base for next year. SM asked what does the VHCAP need the $4K for. Noreen said they had reduction in grants from BCBS and United Way.
DW moved, FF second to transfer the $3,900 from HC and VHCAP. So voted. West Tisbury - yes, Tisbury - yes, Edgartown –yes, Chilmark-yes. Unanimous.
AS thanked Denys Wortman for his help and participation on the Advisory Board and on putting together the All-island Selectmen’s meetings.
SM moved, FF seconded to adjourn the meeting at 1:20 pm.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts