Commonwealth of Massachusetts
COUNTY OF DUKES COUNTY
ADVISORY BOARD ON COUNTY EXPENDITURES
August 18, 2010
9 Airport Rd, Edgartown, MA
Members Present: Arthur Smadbeck – Edgartown 35.96%
Jeff Kristal – Tisbury 14.86%
Skipper Manter – West Tisbury 14.20%
Ron DiOrio – Oak Bluffs 14.87% **
Not Present: Frank Fenner – Chilmark
Jim Newman - Aquinnah
Also present: County Commissioners: Melinda Loberg *
County Manager Russell H. Smith
County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders
Asst. County Treasurer Carol M. Grant
Exec. Assistant to County Manager Martina Thornton **
VHCAP Director Sarah Kuh
Mr. Smadbeck called the meeting to order at 4:00pm.
- FY2011 Budget – Russell informed the CAB that the DCC approved the FY2011 budget after a public hearing was held on August 11th and they are presenting it to the CAB for vote. Mr. Smadbeck asked if the budget reflects the reduction in workload in the Treasurer’s Office since the Sheriff left. Mr. Manter asked if there is a document available that would quantify the number of work hours by which the workload of the Treasurer’s office was reduced due to the departure of the Sheriff’s Office to the State and how many hours did the workload increased due to the fact that they are processing the billing of the alarm fees and the parking tickets in house now. Mr. Smadbeck asked where the increase in revenue is for the Parking Clerk since we do not pay for the processing anymore. Noreen explained that before the revenue was
about $35K now the projection is for $62K. Art noted that the expense is now still $18K over the projected revenue. Noreen explained that part of the expense is the cost of the software. Also 30% of Carol’s time is in the Parking Clerk’s department to do the work needed. The alarm fees billing was allocated as 10 hours per week by the Sheriff and we had to pay $16K to the Sheriff for the processing of the bills, now we do this work in house. Ron DiOrio argued that the Parking Clerk is separate function from the Treasurer’s Office. Noreen said that the Parking Clerk was part to the Treasurer’s Office for the past 13 years. Carol explained that the reduction in number of people to process payroll does not equal the reduction in time. Noreen added that at the same time the Airport asked them to process their payroll and billing differently, which now takes much more extra time then the Sheriff’s portion did. Each bill is being divided between 5-6 departments. She will try to quantify
all this on hourly bases as she did not understand the request from the past was to get it in writing. Mr. Manter asked if there was a RFP done to have the billing done by an independent contractor. Mr. Kristal asked if we offered processing of parking tickets to other towns and counties as a stream of additional revenue. Noreen said that they explored this possibility and the Plymouth County System would cost about $70K and we would be in violation of our license agreement if processing other towns’ tickets unless the other communities would purchase their own licensing for the software. Russell said that one of the main reasons for bringing the processing of tickets in house was to improve the customer service also.
* Melinda Loberg joined the meeting.*
Mr. Smadbeck suggested that the town assessment not be increased by 2.5% for FY2011 due to the fact that the County had $41K extra over the budgeted revenue in FY2010 and they could increase the projected revenue at the Registry of Deeds by another $20K based on last year’s numbers when Registry exceeded revenues by about $25K. This will not affect the increase in the levy limit and it would be a good gesture to the towns. Russell said that the County did not include COLa in past two years as good faith gesture. Mr. Manter said that he also does not like that the 2.5% increase is automatic every year. Russell explained that we did not want to overestimate the revenue and that the towns also do their 2.5% every year and do an override every couple of years as the 2.5% is not enough to keep up with the
increase in expenses. Mr. Manter argued that West Tisbury does not do that. Noreen asked if they have capital exclusions that also increase the levy limit and rise taxes and Mr. Manter answered yes. Mr. Kristal added that the towns are picking up the two programs (VHCAP and IPM) and taking on more of the county’s expense away. Mr. Smadbeck said that the levy limit will still increase by the 2.5% even if the County does not assess the towns for it this year and he suggested changes to the budget to level fund.
Mr. DiOrio moved to approve the budget as presented. No second..
Russell encouraged the CAB to vote on the budget at this meeting as the County Commissioners already held two public hearings on this budget and approved it, with the understanding that amendments to the budget can be done at any time after the budget is approved. Noreen read MGL Chapter 35 Section 28B (d) which states that the CAB has a right to change the budget by their vote without going back to the county commissioners as long as they keep the budget balanced.
Mr. DiOrio moved and Mr. Kristal seconded to approve the FY2011 County budget as presented with a change that the assessment to the towns will stay at the same level as in FY2010 (no 2.5% increase in FY2011) and to offset this change by increasing the projected revenue for the Registry of Deeds by the same amount. Discussion: Mr. DiOrio added that this motion is done with the understanding that there will be a documentation presented to the CAB showing the decrease in hours in the Treasurer’s Office due to Sheriff’s departure and increase due to the additional new activities. Mr. Manter said he would like to see the information before he votes on the budget. Mr. DiOrio said he understands that there needs to be a trial period where we can gain experience and then compare it to the prior
years and see what other options we have before we make a judgment.
Vote: Oak Bluffs – aye, Tisbury – aye, West Tisbury – nay, Edgartown – aye.
** Mr. DiOrio and Mrs. Thornton left the meeting. **
Mr. Kristal asked what do the towns get charged for processing the parking tickets. Carol said it is the same as with Plymouth County - $1.50 per tickets and 15% from the revenue to offset the expenses. Mr. Manter suggested it should be only the actual expense whatever that is and not flat 15%. Noreen said that originally it was the late County Treasurer Margaret O’Neil, who was personally the MV Parking Clerk. When she retired it was turned over to the County but the person is still appointed by the towns. Noreen said that we are a government providing services to the public, not each department must be a revenue maker. As the service was not provided for the towns Carol intervened to improve the services. Carol said that she can give them comparison between last year and this year.
Mr. Manter asked if the people for DOR did come back to us with the answered to questions regarding the Airport and their relationship with the county. He wants to make sure that no county money will be spent looking into this issue again.
Russell asked the CAB members to read the letter from Marcia Cini regarding the potential relationship between the non-profits and the government. The result is that the government can not give money to a non-profit organization for any reason if they are not in control of that organization. The government can appoint a board as the governing body of the organization, which would give them control and opportunity to give them money for their operation. Noreen said that there is issue with the Center for living as they are a non-profit organization and they provide services to the towns and are billing the towns for it and receiving funds from the towns. Russell said that the Animal Shelter on the other hand did not use any of the public funds. Noreen said that the towns already have in their budgets
money to pay the Center for living and if they want the county could be receiving the money into a special fund and paying their bills instead of the town of Edgartown. Mr. Manter said it could be just like contract for services. Russell said that the control of spending the public money would stay with the government and the non-profit would be a “friends of” organization. Mr. Manter mentioned time when each town gave money to the MV Arena and to the hospital. Mr. Smadbeck said that that was probably not legal. Russell said that he would like to stop the towns creating separate regional entities that do not get any oversight and they all assess the towns separately like the refuse district etc. Mr. Smadbeck said that all these organizations come before the town finance committees and their budgets are reviewed before they are voted on at the town meeting. Russell said it is not healthy for the programs to go before the town meeting and sink or swim, there is not an opportunity for
any long term planning. Mr. Manter said that each town had their own way of dealing with this and he does not want to change it. Mr. Smadbeck said that T.J. will be still reporting to Russell once the towns fully fund the program, he will be a county employee, but the towns will have a change each year to end the program if they don’t want it any more. Carol said that she reports to the towns. Noreen said that under the Administrative Code the Parking Clerk is part of the Treasurer’s Office even though she is appointed by the towns. Carol said that the county has nothing to do with her budget. Mr. Manter asked who Carol’s evaluation and salary increases. Noreen said she does. Mr. Smadbeck said that the whole idea is that as long as the non-mandated services are funded by the towns there will be a control over the programs in a form of a warrant article every year. If the county can come up with more revenue and bring these services under the county without assessing the towns extra
money for it that the towns loose control over the programs. Russell said that the only mandated service under the county is the Veteran’s Agent which was created through a special legislation. Russell said that in Franklin County where the county was abolished they created a regional council that the towns can go to if they want some services to be provided on regional bases and the towns can buy into or get out on annual bases and the model is very successful. Mr. Smadbeck said that the good thing about the county running these regional programs is that then the towns don’t have to set up bureaucracy to run these programs individually they can have the county do it for them. Noreen said that the state is now promoting regionalization all over the state including the areas where counties were abolished. Carol added that if one town wants to appoint someone else as Parking Clerk they can do it, but then the person could not pay parking tickets from all the towns at one place.
Meeting adjourned at 5.17pm.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts
- FY2011 County Budget Summary dated 7-27-2010
- Letter from Marcia Cini regarding Support for Organizations Providing Regional Services in Dukes County dated 8-9-2010