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County Commission Minutes 05/15/02

A special meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. in the Conference Room of the County Administration Building, notice of such meeting having been posted as required by law.

Commissioners Present:  Leslie H. Leland, Chairman
                                Daniel Flynn    
                                Robert Sawyer
                                E. B. Collins
                                John Alley (7:25 PM)
                                Roger Wey
                                Leonard Jason, Jr. (7:19 PM)

Also Present:           Carol Borer, County Manager     
                                Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant      
                                Sheriff McCormack
                                Dianne Powers, Register of Deeds
                                Jo Ann Murphy, Veterans’ Agent
                                Noreen Flanders, County Treasurer
                                David Kann, Wastewater Treatment Facility Director
                                TJ Hegarty, Rodent Control Officer
                                Norman Perry, Emergency Management Director
                                Robert Culbert, Beach Manager, Water Lab Director
                                Nelson Smith
                                Sarah Kuh, VHCAP Coordinator (7:22 PM)
                                Cynthia Mitchell, Health Council (7:29 PM)
                                Tad Crawford, Health Council (7:30 PM)
                                William Weibrecht, Airport Manager (7:37 PM)
                                Sean Flynn, Assistant Airport Manager (7:37 PM)
                                Marc Villa, Airport Commission Chair (7:37 PM)
                                George Balco, Airport Commission (7:37 PM)
Chairman Leland called the meeting to order at 7:08 PM, the purpose of the meeting to review the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget.

The County Manager reviewed the past few years that included new programs and equipment (such as the Rodent Control Program, cheaper power, Smart Maps, Fact Sheets, County Website, etc.) and excess revenues. She said other counties are experiencing layoffs.  She recalled that the Auditors warned not to hire new employees or expand programs during the coming difficult economic times.  Mrs. Borer then announced that she was freezing salaries as of July 1, 2002, for Fiscal Year 2003.  She said in the previous draft (4/24/02) of the FY 03 Budget, the unreserved fund balance to be utilized was $130,000.  With freezes, it would be $90,000.  

Mrs. Borer reviewed Revenues, starting with those in the Registry of Deeds, and explained that projections were based on real estate sales and the state of the economy.  Parking tickets and Lab fees were also reviewed.  The County Manager noted that the State is considering closing Superior and Probate Courts and this might affect Courthouse rental reimbursements. Beach Permits were examined, with Mrs. Borer noting that projections were not higher because there was uncertainty about summer traffic and tourism this year. Mrs. Borer explained that Cape and Island License Plate revenue was down, perhaps as part of a two year cycle that hopefully will improve. Beach event revenue was projected up one hundred dollars.  Rodent Control Revenue was projected to rise.  The Communications Center appeared down, but spring billing was not yet completed.

Investment income and miscellaneous incomes (rents) were reviewed.  The amount transferred from the Unreserved Fund Balance was corrected to read, $90,000, not $85,000.  The County Manager continued the review noting a new line, Transfer in of Retiree Insurance.  Commissioner Flynn questioned the line for cost allocation.  Mrs. Borer explained the cost allocation had not yet been done. Mrs. Flanders explained which departments are included in the allocation and that they budget for it.  

There was discussion about the line on the cover sheet for Water Department. Commissioner Jason questioned the $45,000.  Mrs. Borer explained that the Airport had to establish a water company, including the installation of pumps.  
Mrs. Borer reviewed the County Commissioners’ Department, noting the frozen salaries after this fiscal year’s steps increases.  Commissioner Flynn questioned the increase in the County Manager’s salary line.  Mrs. Borer explained that reflected her increase for FY 02.

Commissioner Collins requested that the coversheet reflect changes made in supplemental budgets, so the numbers would reflect the actual budget.  Mrs. Borer agreed to make the changes.  

Mrs. Borer continued, reviewing a few small changes and explaining that the liability insurance for the Commissioners went up.  

The budget for the Associate Commissioners (Dept. 301) was remaining the same as FY 02.  Mrs. Borer explained that a part-time clerk was being hired in Dept. 310, Parking Clerk, and that Carol Grant would be moving to full-time Assistant Treasurer.  The line for data communication increased, as the Parking Clerk was now tied by computer directly into the Registry.  Commissioner Flynn questioned funds remaining in the printing line.  Mrs. Flanders explained that parking tickets were printed in spring, and not yet reflected.

Mrs. Borer cut the line item for the Temporary Employee in Dept. 600, Courthouse, and showed level funding for the Custodian.  Electric and fuel oil were increased and money was added for painting.  Miscellaneous contractual, which covered trash, flag raising, and lift maintenance, was increased.  
Commissioner Flynn questioned the General Liability Insurance line that indicated $0.00.  Mrs. Flanders said she would check on it.  Commissioner Flynn also questioned the lack of funds indicated for Courthouse interior repair.  Mrs. Borer said $50,000 was already reserved for Courthouse renovation.  Commissioner Alley asked if the State would still reimburse the County for Courthouse repairs.  Mrs. Noreen said she hoped so.  Commissioner Flynn cautioned that perhaps the County needed to adjust for the fact that reimbursements might be cut.  Sheriff McCormack asked that the County fight for the Court services to remain on the Island and not accept these possible cuts or adjust for them.

In Dept. 610, Administration Building, Mrs. Borer stated that the line for electricity was being increased, but fuel oil remained low.  Mrs. Borer reduced the line for repairs to the building since the building was new, but Commissioner Collins cautioned that $200 was not enough.  Mrs. Borer said she would revisit that amount at the agreement of other Commissioners.  

The Engineer’s Dept. 700 showed a few increases for computer supplies and postage.  Also, now that the Engineer uses a County vehicle, lines were added for auto equipment, gas, and auto insurance.  Commissioner Sawyer asked if these expenses were invoiced to the towns and Mrs. Borer replied they were not, but that she would consider such a change as expenses were increasing. Commissioner Alley agreed that would be a good idea.

Mrs. Borer explained that approximately $9,000 was spent so far on the New York Avenue property (Dept. 800) but the figures were not reflected here yet.  They were still showing in Dept. 1000.  

In Dept. 1000, it was confirmed that the line for Auditors would be reduced to $16,000.  The legal line was level funded. The miscellaneous contractual line appeared high because it still reflected the NY Ave. Property expenses, but this would be moved to Dept. 800.  Advertising for departments would now be paid in each department, rather than Dept. 1000.  

Dept. 1210 would be for the COLA reserve, but this would not be reflected at the beginning of a Fiscal Year.

Dept. 1400, Bureau of Economic Development covered the Cape and Islands License Plate funds.  Commissioner Flynn noted that the Smart Map line was $0.00 and expressed concern that the Map would not be produced without County funds.  Commissioner Wey asked why the funds weren’t there.  Mrs. Borer stated this was historically done in supplemental budgets and funds were not presently available.  

Mr. Weibrecht, Mr. Flynn and Mr. Villa left the room at 8:00 PM.  

Mrs. Borer explained in Dept. 1500, Health Services, that the lines for the Access Program Coordinator’s salary and benefits were level funded. Cynthia Mitchell, Chair of the Health Council, proposed that the Health Council had a commitment to reimburse the County 50% if the budget was increased. Commissioner Sawyer said he wanted the Commissioners to consider the possibility.  Commissioner Flynn said this would enhance the Health Council’s status because then funds could be used in other constrained areas.  Commissioner Sawyer said it should increase the budget for Health.  Commissioner Collins called it a “subterfuge” and questioned budgeting money that was not in hand, but expected.  Ms. Mitchell explained that July 1, there would be $23,000 from the Center for Healthcare Financing, that the funds were for Municipal Medicaid, like the schools received.  Commissioner Collins said if the donor was expecting $92,000 and adding $46,000 (50%), then that would mean $138,000 for healthcare.  Mrs. Borer asked to see the money commitment. Commissioner Collins called it “fictitious,” and suggested it was misleading.  Commissioner Jason explained the towns got this money through the schools.  Commissioner Alley asked if it had to do with the 501(c)(3).  Commissioner Sawyer replied no.  Mrs. Borer asked why the budget wasn’t submitted with these anticipated funds.  Ms. Mitchell said they didn’t know if they could get them then.  Mrs. Borer said she would need a letter promising the funds.  Commissioner Flynn said provided the documentation came forth, the line could be increased.  Mrs. Borer asked where the money would come from before the reimbursement.  Commissioner Flynn said this was a draft and the funds would come after July 1.  Mrs. Borer asked if this was in addition to the anticipated $40,000 to the Access Program from the Hospital.   Commissioner Sawyer said no.  Discussion continued questioning what was reimbursable, namely salary, benefits, office expenses of the Access Program.  Ms. Mitchell said it depended on enrolling and administering the eligibility process for Medicaid.  Commissioner Jason said it was a good concept and asked that it be explored.

Commissioner Flynn asked why some departments did not reflect cost allocation? Mrs. Flanders explained there were laws defining cost allocation, that it only included departments outside the General Fund.

Dept. 1510 was reviewed.  Tad Crawford asked how the Health Council could be asked to pay cost allocation when it was not being funded. Mrs. Flanders said their cost allocation was based on Health Council grants.  Chairman Leland asked if this would change with the 501(c)(3).  Commissioner Sawyer said not necessarily.  

Commissioner Jason asked if the new bottom line, $3,890,406.30 reflected money outstanding from the Airport and how did we still hope to get that money.  He added, of the $108,000, how much would be used if it went towards step increases?  Mrs. Borer said $30,000.   Chairman Leland stated then we would have the money for step increases, if we got that.  Mrs. Borer said that she had put that money in and out of the Budget, then took it out because there were no guarantees of timely receipt.  Commissioner Wey asked what the holdup was.  Commissioner Alley said it wouldn’t be responsible to count on the money and Mrs. Borer agreed.  Commissioner Wey asked the Airport Manager what was holding up the money after Commissioner Alley said it was the FAA.  Mr. Weibrecht said he was waiting for the appraisal to be submitted and he could not respond for the FAA.

The Water Testing Lab was reviewed, Dept. 1610.  The Lab Assistant’s hours were increased and the Director’s decreased.  Advertising was added and postage increased.  There was no reduction in services.  The Ion Chromatography System showed as an expense.

Commissioner Flynn asked, when Dept. 1700, Airport, was introduced, that he be given time to recuse himself if his son was being discussed.

Mr. Weibrecht reviewed a detailed Revenue sheet showing a 27% increase in Service Revenues, the largest being in landing fees, fuel sales, auto parking, airline parking and tie downs.  He added that there was a 16% increase in Revenues. Chairman Leland asked for an explanation of the decrease in rents.  Mr. Weibrecht explained that it had to do with a hangar not rented due to the Master Plan and a reduction in square footage of another hangar rent.  A 7% reduction in car rentals and passengers was anticipated. Commissioner Sawyer asked about vending machine income and was told it was commission based and would be adjusted during a supplemental budget.  Mr. Weibrecht added that June is a giant month for revenues and projected revenues will be met.
Commissioner Jason asked for an explanation about the Airport’s entering into the water business.  Mr. Weibrecht said a rate study was being done.  The Airport would buy bulk water wholesale and charge retail to tenants.  He was also re-evaluating the Wastewater Treatment Facility.  Discussion followed about the cost of meters and numbers of customers.

Airport expenses were reviewed.  Figures indicated on the draft Budget were the last offers from the Union negotiations.  Mr. Weibrecht reviewed the PCE cleanup and continued well testing.  Independent testing will be considered for future wells if DEP approves.  Building insurance was mentioned, as Commissioner Alley noted town building insurance is going up to include insurance against terrorism.  

Commissioner Wey questioned Airport salary increases.

Commissioner Flynn left the room at 9:00 PM.  Mr. Sean Flynn, Assistant Airport Manager explained that the Union was looking at establishing steps and grades.  Commissioner Wey questioned the jump in Mr. Weibrecht’s salary from $66,000 to $86,000.  Mr. Villa said we’d already discussed that at another meeting.  Mrs. Borer added that the salaries included were subject to change with negotiations.  Mr. Villa said the salaries were very close to what they would be.  Commissioner Jason asked if that meant they could go higher and Mr. Villa replied, modestly.  Commissioner Wey also referred to Mr. Flynn’s salary jump to $67,000.

Sheriff McCormack asked who represented the County in Union negotiations.  Commissioner Collins said he did, but that he didn’t participate.  Mr. Villa did 95% of the talking.  The Sheriff asked who signed the Contract on behalf of the County.  Mrs. Borer replied she did.  The Sheriff voiced his concern several times about the fact that the County salaries were frozen and Airport salaries were increasing.  He said he raised the issue because of the serious impact it would have on his Department and others.

Commissioner Flynn returned at 9:07 PM.

The Sheriff said this discrepancy would create a huge morale problem and his concerns were not to say that there was anything wrong with Union negotiations, but how it affected County employees.  Dianne Powers, Register of Deeds, agreed that it was a serious problem and it sent two messages to the County.  Commissioner Jason agreed.  He added that some Departments were getting zero funding.  He also said, when Commissioner Wey noted the size of the Airport increases, that the Airport generated money.  Ms. Powers noted that the Registry generated income.  Commissioner Wey said everyone works hard and it wasn’t right.  Commissioner Sawyer agreed it was a serious inequity.  

George Balco, Airport Commissioner, referred to the increases and said they included other settlements.  The Sheriff said he heard the Airport apologizing, but that wasn’t his point.  He only wanted to point out possible real ramifications.  Commissioner Sawyer agreed.  Commissioner Jason asked how we solve the problem.  Mr. Crawford said they’re two separate entities, with one only projecting 2 ½% revenues.  Mr. Crawford said the 2 ½% that the County is locked into is driving sections of its mission out of business.

The Sheriff said he was only speaking on behalf of his employees.  The Chairman called for a break at 9:15 PM.  The representatives of the Health Council and Airport left.  The meeting began again at 9:22 PM.
Life Health Insurance for retirees was increased (Dept. 1800).

In Dept. 2000 (Recreation) the Manager’s hours showed an increase, as did telephone (pager and cell) and travel.  Advertising was added.  Commissioner Collins asked for Mr. Culbert’s total salary, as he is in two departments.  
Civil Defense (Dept. 2200) was reviewed.  Mrs. Borer explained that there have been adjustments, but more radios will be bought.  Mr. Perry, Director of Emergency Management, added that awaiting State approval to spend funds made it appear that they had spent less than they planned.

Commissioner Jason asked Mr. Kann, WWTF Director, Dept. 2700, if the County could do some of the tests that he presently had to send out.  He said even after certification, other equipment would still be needed.  Commissioner Flynn thought maybe the Airport could purchase some of the equipment since they were going into the water business, and then Rob Culbert could do the tests, bringing in the revenues to the County.

The DCRHA, Dept. 2800 requested $45,000 but was not receiving funding.
The Treasurer explained in Dept. 3000, her need for the Assistant Treasurer to go full time.  She said it was not just because of GASB 34, but because for 12 years, since Margaret O’Neil left, she has worked with only a half time assistant.

The Rodent Control Dept. 3200 was reviewed.  Mrs. Borer explained additional lines to cover costs for the new truck. The Rodent Control Officer told the Commissioners about his program to help the schools with their mandated Integrated Pest Management Programs.  Commissioner Jason suggested that Mr. Hegarty be tested by physicians at the County’s expense, since he worked with pesticides.  There was discussion about the line item for gas for the truck.
The Veterans’ Agent’s Budget, Dept. 3300, was reviewed.  Ms. Murphy’s hours are increased to 30 in the budget.  Telephone is reduced, as she was added to the system in the Administration Building.  Commissioner Alley asked Ms. Murphy if she agreed with her budget and she said yes.

The Registry of Deeds, Dept. 3398 was reviewed.  Commissioner Jason asked about sales.  Ms. Powers said they were flat lined.

The Sheriff’s Dept. 3399 was reviewed.  The Sheriff’s Budget was cut by the State 3.5% instead of the anticipated 10%.

Mrs. Flanders explained that allocation of overhead reimbursement was based on the number of employees the Dept. had when allocation started. Therefore, the Sheriff’s Dept. gets reimbursed back.

Commissioner Sawyer said he wanted to find $5000 for the Health Council.  

Commissioner Flynn said he still wanted to discuss the County Manager’s salary. There was some discussion about the Health Council’s 501(c)(3).  Commissioner Sawyer said he would move next week for a vote on it.

Commissioner Jason said there was a bigger problem than just $5000.  He said employees weren’t getting raises; the $108,000 was still outstanding; there was no money for the DCRHA or Aids Alliance.  He asked that the Commissioners rethink where they were going. He added two classes of employees wasn’t the way to go.  Commissioner Sawyer agreed.  Commissioner Flynn suggested that other employees might look to unionize.  Sheriff McCormack said he was speaking out for his people.  Ms. Powers agreed.  Commissioner Sawyer asked that pressure be exerted to get the $108,000.
Mrs. Borer explained that next week would be an Executive Session to strategize about potential litigation.  She reminded the Commissioners that they voted to go to Court on the issues between the Airport and the County.  Commissioner Sawyer asked that the 501(c)(3) be on the Agenda.

Commissioner Flynn Moved to adjourn.  Commissioner Alley Seconded the
Motion.  The meeting adjourned at 10:05 PM.  

Complete text of meeting is available on tape at the County Commissioner’s office.


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