Commonwealth of Massachusetts
County of Dukes County
Advisory Board on County Expenditures
Friday, February 11, 2011
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA 02539
Advisory Board: Jeff Kristal (Tisbury – 14.86%), Skipper Manter (West Tisbury – 14.20%), Frank Fenner (Chilmark – 15.83%), Ron DiOrio (Oak Bluffs – 14.84%)
County Commissioners: Tom Hallahan, Carlene Gatting *
County Staff: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant, Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer, Carol Grant – Assistant Treasurer, T.J. Hegarty – Director of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program
Meeting was called to order at 2:30 PM
- FY2012 Budget – 1st draft
Russell said that the presented budget is flat funded with exception of step increases and health insurance which we are obligated to pay and increased more than 2.5%. There is a 2.5% increase in the town assessment. It turned out that unlike the towns, if the County does not take the 2.5% one year, we can not increase next year by 5% if we want to. County Commissioners received the first draft this Wednesday. Russell went through the budget line by line. Areas discussed:
- Parking Clerk’s department is processing tickets in house now with increased revenue and expense
- $5,500 in the administration buildings budget added for hook up of a generator next to the building (the Emergency Managers are meeting here and could use this building as Incident Communication Center)
- In department 1000 Miscellaneous – last line should be corrected to $0 (not $5K)
- We should be using the license plate income for economic development; so far it went to a general fund. After discussions with the Chamber of Commerce they made a proposal to promote the local grown initiatives – farms, shell fishing and local construction industry for $10K. County will have to do an RFP for this service as we can not give money to a non-profit. Jeff said that Chamber went to towns for money too and they refused as by President coming here two years in a row the island is well promoted, there are plenty of local grow initiatives and events, the Chamber collects membership fee and has other resources to get the money. Skipper said he would rather like to see the money go directly to the targeted groups, like the MV Shellfish Group. Noreen said that previously it was used to fund the engineer and the Norton Point beach management, which
would be directly linked to tourism. There is $10K in the budget to pay for the marketing expense of the license plates. Ron said that the $10K can be used for grant writer instead to write grants with economic development component.
- Credit card convenience fees – we charge 3%, but the fee to the credit card companies is little less, so there will be about $2K revenue. Right now people can not pay on-line. Ron would like to move into this direction. Jeff asked if Carol could figure out what would be the difference if they changed $10 convenience fee instead of 3%
- Noreen said that the average increase of health insurance plans with Cape Cod Municipal Health Group is 9.5%. When the health insurance expense in dept. 1800 goes up so do the Airport’s and Registry’s reimbursements, which pay for the health insurance for their retirees.
- Treasurer’s allocation of overhead –line 3000 is up to $75K – most of it is from the Airport. Treasurer also gets reimbursed from the Animal Shelter, Registry of Deeds and from the Youth Task Force for grant administration (some state and federal grants allow for 5-7.5 % administrative fee as there are periodic reporting requirements, some don’t allow for it). The Treasurer is also liable for proper expending of grant funds. We do not charge any fee to the Medical Reserve Corps who also receive grants and we do their payroll and bills and they also receive a free office in the county building.
Overall the budget is $9,981 in surplus based on the projections. Russell would like to keep it that way and not use it up.
Russell informed the CAB that the County changed the step and grade system last year to be more comparable with the towns. The county employees are still paid less than town counterparts. There is a rating of the revised job descriptions under way and the results will be reflected in the budget once finished. Ron suggested doing it as a salary adjustment. Noreen said there is line 1820 - reserve fund for salaries where we can put the number that will be used for this. T.J. asked if the county employees will be excluded from receiving COLA for a third year in a row. Ron and Skipper said that there was no COLA in Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury for last 3 years. Ron said that the negotiating committee is the County Commissioners. Skipper said that the personnel changes were expected to be done last year and it is not fair to the
employees to wait for a year to get where they suppose to be.
Tom made some corrections to the draft: The parking clerk’s revenue on the spreadsheet should be increased by $2K for the processing fees. In revenue line 4500 – the interest income should be $5K. In dept. 301 under miscellaneous contractual there should be $5K in FY2011 budget only as one time measure. In department 610 the office rent line should be increase to $13,500 to cover the inflation clause in the lease to the Airport for the land for this building. Noreen said that in dept. 1500 the lines 52900 and 52990 should be combined.
Skipper said that the 2.5% increase on expenses should not be automatic. Russell said that the County is required to as the 2.5% to the Maintenance of Effort for the Registry and if we do not increase the assessment the county will be on a negative slope due to the health insurance and other increases we have no control over. County never gets the override. Noreen said that the county does not have growth factor like the towns do which automatically raises the assessments. The county can not use capital or debt exclusions either (for example Edgartown has $43 million in debt and capital exclusions). Skipper said that towns pick up another 10% of the expense of IPM and VHCAP budgets and the County is spending it, there is no reduction. Tom said that the now $17K buffer will be used for the adjustment to employees on the
scale. Skipper suggested to show the 10% decrease separately and then to show where it is being spent. He also spoke against hooking up the generator. Russell said it would be a good location considering the Airport would be a hub for food supply delivery etc. Jeff said that the Regional Emergency Planning Committee once established should identify the building they want to use and this is premature. Ron said that the county office was never included in prior disaster plans.
Tom said that the DCC will meet on February 23rd and proposed the joint meeting for the public hearing on the budget for Wednesday March 16, 2011 at 5pm.
Next County Advisory Board meeting was scheduled for March 9, 2011 at 2.30pm.
2. Transfers for FY11
Noreen presented the budget transfer sheet (see attached) and explained that majority of the transfers are due to a departure of one employee, paying out of sick and vacation time and hiring of a new employee. There is a need to transfer money to the new employee line as we have separate line for each employee. There is also a need for additional funds in the Treasurer’s Office health insurance line.
Skipper/Ron moved to approve the FY2011 budget transfers as presented. All in favor.
As the new employee was hired for fewer hours there is some money left to cover extra expenses: wiring and hooking up of two computers in Commissioners' office to the Treasurer’s server to be able to access the budget files. We received quote for the work that was $400 but it was over $3,500 by the time they were done. We exhausted all budgeted funds and this is the balance still outstanding. Also Carol’s computer needed some repair and $2,195 is needed to buy additional software for the Treasurer’s Office needed to run the payroll software properly. There is $500 left in the Treasurer’s computer repair line to pay the off site back up ($75 per month).
Skipper/Frank moved to approve the inter-department transfers. All in favor.
Jeff/ Skipper moved to adjourn the meeting at 4 p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts
Documents presented at the meeting and part of the official records:
- First draft of FY2012 budget
- Transfer sheets