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County Commission Minutes 11/13/02

The regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was scheduled for Wednesday, November 13, 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
                                Robert Sawyer
                                E. B. Collins
                                Daniel Flynn
                                John Alley
Roger Wey

Absent:                 Leonard Jason, Jr.
Also Present:   Carol Borer, County Manager             
                        Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant              
                        Noreen Flanders, County Treasurer               
                        David O’Sullivan        
                        Jonathan Revere                                         
                        Dianne Powers, Register 
                        Ezra Blair, MV Times
                        Jonathan Burke, Vineyard Gazette        
                        Nelson Smith
                        Paul Strauss
                        George Schiffer
                        Chris Rogers, Powers and Sullivan
                        Tad Crawford, Health Council

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM.
        Commissioner Collins moved that the Minutes of October 23, 2002
        be accepted as written. Commissioner Sawyer seconded the motion.
        The vote to approved the Minutes passed with Commissioner Alley

Chairman Leland asked for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the recent plane crash, one of whom, Richard Colson, was an Airport Commissioner.

The Chairman welcomed newly elected Commissioners Strauss and Smith.

Jonathan Revere presented the Mobile Septage Dewatering System proposal by American Water Services, Inc. and Northern Star Industries, that would feature a County sponsored regional program of septage management.  The program would be 100% privatized and would use local pumping companies to transport septage to centrally located Hamstern units.  Once treated, water would be returned to the septic tanks.  Failed systems would not be able to be included. Mr. Revere estimated the cost per gallon to be approximately 12 to 15 cents/gallon compared to the current 30 cents/gallon.  Discussion followed.  Mr. Revere said the goal was a 100% reduction in
shipments off Island of solids and liquids.  Freight hauling would be substantially reduced, cutting down on SSA hazardous waste trips.

Mr. Revere noted the opportunity this would afford the County to lead, coordinate, and generate income.  The cost of one Hamstern is $750,000. “This program will be 100% privatized and fee-based, will not increase local taxes or assessments and will not be dependent on local, state or federal public funding. On Island septage pumpers will be encouraged to collaborate in the program, in order to protect their established businesses and local jobs.”

Commissioner Sawyer said he thought the project was appropriate for the County.  His only reservation was that he wouldn’t want the County to be perceived as competing with private enterprise.  Mr. Revere said that had been researched, that the County would not be competing. Mr. Strauss supported the concept and added that 85% of wastewater on the Island is from septic systems.  Removing the water before transporting would reduce the cost by 90%.  He said it was a valid reason to use the program Island-wide.

        Commissioner Sawyer moved that the County Manager be directed to
        meet with Mr. Revere and report back in December or January, and come   
        up with pros and cons of the concept. Commissioner Alley seconded the
        motion.  The vote to pass the motion was Unanimous.

Mr. Revere thanked the Commissioners and left at 7:50 PM.

Chris Rogers of Powers and Sullivan presented the FY 2002 Audit, noting it was the first exit audit ever completed before December 31.  Mr. Rogers discussed the General Fund Balance that totaled $325,000 and explained that $90,000 of that was set aside for FY2003 operations.   Remaining balance after reserves was $154,000 unrestricted and unreserved. Mr. Rogers said the County was in a good, stable position to move forward.  The Airport, Mr. Rogers explained, had a total of $457,000.  $145,000 of that was reserved and encumbered.  $109,000 was from the prior year and reserved for the County.  $202,000 is the Airport’s balance, unreserved and unrestricted.  Mr. Rogers reviewed the net change in the fund balance during the year which reflects Supplemental Transfers.
Commissioner Sawyer asked about including comparisons as was discussed last year.  Mr. Rogers said comparative percentages could not be included in the middle of the columns.  Comparisons had to be part of a memo. Commissioner Sawyer said it would be nice to see the comparisons in the statement. Mr. Rogers noted combining balance sheet and statements as supplementary information in the General Purpose Report.

Mr. Rogers noted that the cost allocation plan and Airport issues needed to be resolved.  The $109,000 deficits from the FY 2001 would be moved to the County if voted.

Mr. Rogers said the Management Letter only includes reportable conditions or material weakness, but there were none.  He did see ‘room for efficiencies.’ The biggest issue was planning now for accounting capital assets for GASB 34.  

Mrs. Borer asked about setting policy for what to include in the inventory for GASB 34.  Mr. Rogers discussed the difference between maintaining an inventory and financial reporting.  He said look at the biggest assets as collectable.  For example, treat the computer category as a group. Policies needed to be set however about thresholds and maintenance of inventory.  Commissioner Sawyer asked what the benefit was of maintaining inventory.  Mr. Rogers said it had to do with exposure.  Inventory maintenance would expand the workload of employees.

Commissioner Sawyer asked about depreciation.  Mr. Rogers spoke of the accumulation of historical costs.  Commissioner Collins asked about grouping equipment when they all had variable lives.  Mr. Rogers said it was their group life that mattered.  Mrs. Flanders asked about improvements and replacements.  Mr. Rogers explained that the cost would be taken out and improvements added in.

Commissioner Wey left at 8:20 PM.

Mr. Rogers said required in GASB 34 would be a management discussion and analysis that would come from the County Commissioners.  It would tell the story of current events that had a financial impact.

Mr. Rogers discussed the Health Council funds and that separate funds required had not yet been done as of the date of the Audit.  Mr. Crawford said he had been waiting for a year-end balance and that subsequently, he and Mrs. Flanders had done the work.  

The third point was budgeted vs. actual indirect costs (Cost Allocation Plan.)  Mr. Rogers said there needed to be monthly adjustments for actual costs.  Mrs. Flanders asked if it could be done quarterly and Mr. Rogers agreed.  Also, he said reconciliation of cash needed to be resolved in a timely manner.

There were no findings in the Federal Report. Mr. Rogers completed his presentation at 8:26 PM.

Chairman Leland said he received a letter from the West Tisbury Board of Selectmen asking that Ernest Mendenhall be appointed to the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority to replace Abbe Burt who would was now be representing Tisbury, the term expiring 12/31/03.

Commissioner Collins moved Mr. Mendenhall be appointed to the DCRHA
as the West Tisbury representative to complete Abbe Burt’s term.  Commissioner
Sawyer seconded the motion. The motion passed Unanimously.

Mrs. Borer reported that she had decided to take advantage of the Early Retirement Program and would be retiring. She said she would be retired by December 31, 2002, but that she would stay on in the interim for continuity and to set goals.  She would not leave the County ‘up in the air.’ She hoped to set up a contract for this.  The Commissioners expressed surprise.  Chairman Leland said the position would need to be advertised and there would need to be a search committee.  He said it would be ‘tough to fill her shoes.’ Mrs. Borer stressed that she didn’t want to pressure the Commissioners at a time when there was so much going on.  She added that she had been in public service for over 20 years. Chairman Leland said that Mrs. Borer would be greatly missed and thanked her for being willing to stay on in the interim for continuity.

Commissioner Sawyer said the SSA Forum was tentatively scheduled for January 9 or January 13.

Tad Crawford invited the County Commissioners to attend the Health Council Retreat and said Len Stewart from Barnstable County would be coming to discuss Barnstable’s Health and Human Services, on December 19.  He suggested the Commissioners meet with Len Stewart on the 18th if they were available.

Commissioner Sawyer urged his fellow Commissioners to attend the Health Council Retreat.

Commissioner Alley moved adjourn.  Commissioner Sawyer seconded the motion.
The meeting adjourned at 8:38 PM.

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



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