A special meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held Monday,
June 2, 2003 at 6:00 p.m. in the conference room of the County Administration Building, notice of such meeting having been posted as required by law.
Commissioners Present: Leonard Jason, Jr.; Robert Sawyer; Paul Strauss; Roger Wey, Leslie Leland (left at 7:10 PM)
Absent: John Alley, Chairman; Nelson Smith
Also Present: Dianne Powers, Acting County Manager; Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant; Noreen Mavro Flanders, County Treasurer; Laurie Perry; Michael Gilman, Counsel; Sandra Lothrop, Associate Commissioner.
In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, Commissioner Sawyer, opened the meeting at 6:04 PM.
Commissioner Jason Moved that the Commissioners go into Executive Session to discuss litigation and then return to Open Session, adding that Dianne Powers, Acting County Manager; Treasurer Flanders, Laurie Perry, and Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant be invited to attend.
Associate Commissioner Lothrop left at 6:04 PM.
Roll Call: Commissioner Jason, aye; Commissioner Strauss, aye; Commissioner Leland, aye; Commissioner Sawyer, aye. Executive Session began.
The Open Session, scheduled for Budget Review, reconvened after a break, at 7:15 PM.
Also present: Sheriff McCormack; David O’Sullivan, Special Sheriff; Ezra Blair, MV Times; Anson Krickl, Universal Access Committee (8:30 PM); TJ Hegarty, Rodent Control Officer; William Weibrecht, Airport Manager; Robert Culbert, Water Laboratory Director, Recreation Manager; Tad Crawford, Health Council; Sarah Kuh, VHCAP; Marni Lipke, Kathy Logue, Health Council; Michael Eldridge, WWTF; Kira Law, Shirley Sapin, Jeanne Butterfield, Charles Waters III, Anna Cimeno, Connie Teixeira, William Sullivan.
Treasurer Flanders reviewed the history of this budget and the fact that the first attempt at a Budget was $203,000 over. The second attempt was still over $140,000 and the Departmental budgets went back to the Departments to be redone before the Sheriff, Ms. Powers, and Mrs. Flanders worked on the overall Budget again. This budget includes no capital expenses and only 2% or Union increases, no COLA. Treasurer Flanders also reviewed how the revenues from towns were limit to a 2 ½ % increase ($16,000). Ms. Powers explained that some revenue projections were not met and the County was entering FY 04 at a deficit. In answer to Commissioner Jason’s question, she also reviewed State increases and how they would affect the Registry. Copy fees were increased.
Revenues were reviewed. Treasurer Flanders explained that since Courthouse rent was down, the County was subsidizing the State in the Courthouse. Airport Manager Weibrecht reviewed how Parking Revenues were now divided into separate lines.
Commissioner Jason noted that Lab fees were off 30%. Robert Culbert, Laboratory Director, explained that the new Dionex machine was not yet online. Discussion followed. Commissioner Sawyer said that Chairman Alley had asked him to question why the Lab was operating at a loss, who it was serving and whether or not to continue it. Mr. Culbert said the Lab was a service and that once the Dionex machine was online, business would increase. Commissioner Sawyer questioned how to market the Lab. Ms. Powers said she had suggested sending back the machine. Commissioner Wey said it should have been sent back a long time ago.
There was discussion about the plovers and if and when the beach might be closed and for how long, and how to possibly avoid a long period of closure.
Treasurer Flanders said the Budget was conservative with Revenues. She noted that as in
FY 03, $90,000 was being used from the Unreserved Fund Balance to balance the Budget. If our Unreserved Fund Balance in FY 04 is only $75,000 the current Budget level would not be able to be sustained.
Noting the revenue level in the Rodent Control Department, Commissioner Sawyer asked another of Chairman Alley’s questions, can the towns contribute to the Rodent Control budget? Mr. Hegarty explained his program, how it was educational, not contractual. Mrs. Flanders recalled that at the last Advisory Board meeting the towns did not appear to be interested in contributing more to the County.
Commissioner Jason asked the Airport Manager about decreased Airport revenues, but noted that expenses were also down. Mr. Weibrecht said water was the big issue and meters were almost ready. He said he was confident that fuel revenues and other areas would make up the revenues.
The public was invited to comment. Mr. Hegarty questioned if Airport Business Park tenants were aware that water fees were coming. Mr. Weibrecht said a system was being created to deal with water issues. He added that the Airport was the largest user of water and subsequently water would be an expense.
Commissioner Sawyer began a Department by Department review of Expenses, beginning with Dept. 300, County Commissioners.
Associate Commissioner Lothrop read letters supporting her request for more funding. Ms. Powers and Commissioner Wey said the Commissioners needed a budget, the numbers, so they could see the amounts she was requesting and see if the funds could be located. Mr. Hegarty suggested that Ms. Lothrop ask Community Corrections for assistance in some projects.
Review of Departmental budgets continued. Sarah Kuh explained her rationale for asking for 40% of utilities and more for building insurance for the Access building on the New York Avenue property. Tad Crawford noted that the Access Program had moved to the property and was waiting for utilities. When Department 1500 was discussed (new name, Access Program,) Tad Crawford stated that while he understood the County’s financial situation, vital community programs like Sandra Lothrop’s, were being squeezed out of the Budget. He said that Ms. Kuh’s Program was the safety net for the Island’s 18-20% year-round residents under or uninsured. Ms. Kuh explained the difficulty created by not receiving operating expenses. Tad Crawford noted that the Health Council, Department 1510,
received no funding. He had requested $6560 for ‘bare bones’ administration. Commissioner Sawyer supported the Health Council’s need for funding administration, something it cannot get through grants. Ms. Powers noted that last year the Budget did not include funds for the Health Council and that funding came during a Supplemental Budget. She hoped Ms. Perry would be able to find a creative way to help fund Departments like this. Kathy Logue and Marni Lipke also voiced the need for funding for even the most basic operational needs.
Sheriff McCormack said, as had been mentioned at a Department Head meeting, perhaps in looking at the revenue stream the County Commissioners might think about asking the towns for a 2 ½% override to fund these sorts of services that help citizens of the entire Island.
The Water Testing Lab was discussed again. Commissioner Wey noted that the Lab did not make income and questioned whether it was needed. Mrs. Flanders said the original Lab equipment had been donated and the Department had grown. Commissioner Wey said while there may be a need for the Lab, there were other services that were also needed. Commissioner Jason said this had been discussed before. Commissioner Strauss said the new Lab instrument was excellent and something had to be done to make it work. If not, he said the Lab had to be restructured. Commissioner Strauss volunteered to work with Mr. Culbert on this. Commissioner Jason offered to help.
Review continued. Treasurer Flanders explained increases in postage and stationery in her Department and the 2% increase in her salary.
Ms. Powers explained the Registry’s budget.
Mr. Weibrecht reviewed the Airport Budget. Treasurer Flanders added that the Airport Budget had been approved by the Airport Commission. Commissioner Sawyer asked if the $36,500 in the Legal line was realistic. Mr. Weibrecht said the Airport Commission had reviewed it and there was money in other lines if needed.
Commissioner Jason asked about radio equipment in Department 2200. The name to this Department is being changed from Civil Defense to Emergency Management.
There was a discussion about when to vote on the Budget and the need to schedule the Public Hearing and Advisory Board meeting. Ms. Powers requested that the Commissioners vote on the Budget as soon as possible. Commissioner Jason said the Management Team had come up with a Budget and the Commissioners should vote on it and schedule a meeting to begin discussing how to generate income. Commissioner Sawyer was opposed to voting without the other Commissioners present.
Commissioner Jason Moved that the Budget be approved as presented. Commissioner Wey Seconded the Motion. Commissioners Jason, Wey and Strauss voted ‘aye.’ Commissioner Sawyer voted ‘nay.’ The Motion carried.
The Commissioners discussed scheduling a meeting for Monday, June 9. Treasurer Flanders suggested the County Commissioners come to the Advisory Board meeting, but Commissioner Sawyer said he didn’t think individual County Commissioners should go to the Advisory Board to amend what Commissioners had voted. Ms. Powers said the Commissioners could vote to amend what they were sending to the Advisory Board. Commissioner Jason asked that the record include this discussion.
Commissioner Jason Moved to adjourn. Commissioner Strauss Seconded the Motion.
The meeting adjourned at 9:24 PM.
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO, JR.
CLERK OF THE COURTS