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County Commission Minutes 06/11/03
A regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held Wednesday,
June 11, 2003 at 7:30 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 (7:45 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; Sheriff McCormack; Jonathan Burke, Vineyard Gazette; Joanna Jernegan.

In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, Commissioner Sawyer, opened the meeting at 7:36 PM.

Commissioner Jason Moved that the Minutes of June 2, 2003 be approved as presented.  Commissioner Strauss Seconded the Motion.  The Motion Passed Unanimously.

Ms. Powers distributed a copy of letter from Vincent Scarano, FAA, that she was given at the Airport Commission meeting.  The Sheriff reported that the letter outlined the process that needed to be followed in reference to the use of Airport land.

Commissioner Sawyer reviewed a packet of letters sent by SSA representative Kathryn Roessel outlining proposed money saving changes in SSA schedules. Ms. Roessel stated in her letter that a public forum would be held on June 19th regarding this information that would be released to the press on June 12.

Commissioner Sawyer reviewed changes in the Budget that the Commissioners needed to approve in order to add $1750.00 to the County Manager’s line of the FY 2004 Budget.  The three necessary adjustments were: $1000 from Department 600 (Courthouse) to be moved to the County Manager’s line in Department 300; $500 from General Liability in Department 300; $250 from the Surplus (Coversheet.)

Commissioner Jason Moved that the changes be made as outlined.  Commissioner Strauss Seconded the Motion.  The Vote to Approve was Unanimous.

Sheriff McCormack distributed information regarding the proposal to bring Paramedic Intercept service to the Island.  There will be a press release on this information at an event on June 24th.  There were questions about how this would raise the level of emergency service, and about covering the costs.

Commissioner Sawyer presented the County Funding Plan (attached.)  The Plan, “to be administered by the County, is to impose a 1% fee upon the gross sales price of all (with some relief for low income or on the first $200,000 of homes selling for less than $350,000.00) transfers of real estate in Dukes County.”

Commissioner Jason said a similar concept was tried in 1996 and noted that Mrs. Borer had started working on this concept with town Finance Committees.  He said he thought the focus had to be on building trust at the local level and letting the ideas come up to the County from the community. Commissioner Wey agreed that the focus had to first be on ‘putting our house in order.’ Commissioner Strauss agreed that there would have to be overwhelming town support for this and added the concept was ‘wonderful.’  Commissioner Leland voiced concern about taking on more programs and stressed the need to get backing from the towns.  He added it was a massive plan but the concept was good.  Commissioner Jason said the towns should dictate to the County and then the County Manager’s role would be to set the appropriate course of action.  Commissioner Wey said the Commissioners needed time to ‘digest’ the idea and then revisit.  He said they couldn’t carry the ball without support from the towns.

Commissioner Sawyer said there were three ways to proceed: vote that they weren’t interested; read and revisit shortly; decide to go to the towns and proceed.  Commissioner Jason suggested a way to present this to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission was not by just saying ‘here’s a concept, but by stressing the way it would alleviate severe restraints in budgets. Discussion followed about bringing the new County Manager onboard first and then revisiting, with no date set. Commissioner Strauss said it was important to have all the Commissioners in on the discussion and to wait for the new County Manager to be onboard.  Then they could all determine how to move ahead.  He also suggested keeping track of the numbers as if the plan were in effect for a year and seeing how it would have worked.  Commissioner Jason said the Island Master Plan offered a roadmap in 1990 showing the Island could get to an agreement.

Commissioner Jason Moved to adjourn. Commissioner Strauss Seconded the Motion.
The meeting adjourned at 8:56 PM.


The County of Dukes County PO Box 190, Edgartown, MA 02539
Phone: 508.696.3840    Fax: 508.696.3841
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