Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Les Leland called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. Commissioners Roger Wey, Tristan Israel, Lenny Jason, John Alley and Carlene Gatting were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Jennifer Randolph, Sheriff McCormack, Chris Kennedy, Sarah Trudell, Julia Rappaport, and MVTV.
Minutes - None
Committee / Department Reports
Trustees of Reservation: Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy introduced Sarah Trudell as the new beach manager for Norton Point Beach to the County Commissioners. Chris said that he was not prepared to go over a financial report. He said they were still working on the FY09 budget and the FY08 financial data were still preliminary because the books were not closed. Although the final numbers were not in, Chris said the year did end in the black. Chris predicted permit sales to be around $175,000, which could change due to the bird activity. The financial data for FY08 would be presented to the Commissioners once Chris receives it and it is reviewed by him and Russell.
Chairman’s Report and Communication: Les Leland
Les reminded the Commissioners that the next meeting would be on May 21st and they would not meet on May 28th. He explained that the State requires the Commissioners to meet on the Wednesday after the third Monday in May.
Charter Study Update
Les also reported that the Charter Study Commission has voted to recommend the County Manager form of government, seven commissioners elected at large, and two year terms. The Charter Study also recommended that the Commissioners file a bill to change the language regarding the County Manger. They suggested removing the language that makes the position full time and an indefinite term of office.
There was discussion regarding getting the language drafted for the bill. Tristan wanted to be pro-active. He suggested the County Manger draft the language for the Commissioners to review at the next meeting. Russell Smith said that it was his intent to have the state's house counsel draft the language.
Tristan Israel / Carlene Gatting Moved that the County Manager work with who ever necessary to get language ready to go to legislation, So Voted, unanimous, (6-0-0).
Russell explained that in July all the bills get thrown out. The filling time for new legislation is in the fall. Carlene said that she would like to get the language done now. She would like to see the Charter Study see a copy of the language that is going to be filled in the fall. Tristan agreed that he would like to see the language done sooner than later.
Committee / Department Reports
Steamship Authority – Marc Hanover
Marc explained to the Commissioners that for every increase of $10 for a barrel of fuel the Steamship Authority's budget increases by $1million. He said the Steamship Authority is taking steps to off set the cost, such as slowing the boats, not running unnecessary boats, and making sure boats are as full as possible.
Marc said that ridership is up as well as the usage of the parking lots. He further explained that the full price ticket sales are up, while the island preferred sales are flat. Passenger tickets are also up by 10%
Marc explained that the fuel cost for the Steamship is up by 62% and the overall operating cost is up by 80%. He said that he had suggested raising the parking fees at Palmer Ave & Woods Hole lots, but the board did not agree. They felt raising the rates would be safer. He said he thinks the rate increase to the tickets should be enough and there should not be any other increases or surcharges.
Tristan Israel said that he would have preferred more of a public process before the increases were made. Marc explained that decision had to be made quickly due to the point they were at in the season.
Oak Bluffs Terminal: Marc said that the OB terminal was three weeks behind schedule, but would open on time. Phase 2 of the project, which is the main dolphins and pedestrian walk way would be done next year.
New England Fast Ferry: Ticket sales are down.
New Advertising Policy: Marc explained that management is exploring possibilities to generate revenue. He said he would bring it back to the Commissioners if anything moves forward to get the Commissioners' opinion.
All Island Board of Selectmen's Meeting Update (Roger Wey)
Roger said it was a great meeting that was well attended and had a wide range of discussion. Denys Whortman will be the Chairman. Topics included:
· Decline in herring
· Regional regulations for taxis
· Presentation by a new cable company
· Renegotiating for a single solid waste district
Tristan Israel pointed out that the County could show some leadership in the area of the fishing issues.
County Manager's Report: Russell Smith
Sheriff's Bill Update
Russell reported that there were budget amendments that were presented at the State in an attempt to make the Sheriff's employees State employees. He said that neither of the two budgets was adopted. The budget was sent to Senate Ways and Means. It left that office with no budget amendments that would effect the Sheriff's Department. It will now go to the full Senate, which has until Friday to submit any budget amendments.
Sheriff Michael McCormack said that his main concern right now is getting through the rest of the fiscal year. He has totally run out of funds as of April 30th. He said he has not been paying invoices since March. He has asked for an emergency distribution from the Community Corrections Fund to meet mid May payroll. He said the Chairman polled the committee and got a positive response. The Committee will take the official vote next week. The Sheriff said he is putting together a supplemental budget to complete the fiscal year.
Tristan Israel said that he is concerned about what next year brings. He feels the County should be proactive in getting the County's view point across and make sure that the best deal is made. Roger Wey agreed and said the County should be more prepared for the next year.
Courthouse Roof Update
Russell said that the bill was in the Senate Clerks office and is now in Senate Ethics & Rules.
Youth Task Force Grant Announcement
Russell announced that the Youth Task Force was awarded a $300,000 grant for 3 years renewable for 2 additional years for $200,000.
County Advisory Board Meeting
Russell informed the Commissioners that the CAB would be meeting on May 21st at noon. They will be reviewing the Airport Budget and two supplemental budgets.
Fuel Oil Bid Update
Russell reported to the Commissioners that there had been 3 different parties that had picked up the fuel oil bid package. The deadline for bids is June 4th at 4pm.
Surplus Property Update
Russell said the server did not receive any bids. The winning bids for the vehicles were as follows:
· Van - $210
· Crown Victoria - $300
· Ford Ranger - $450
State Beach Update
Russell explained that in an effort to deter people from driving on the dunes and sand the County is going to plant bushes along the road. A request for determination has been filed with the Oak Bluffs Conservation Agent. There is a public hearing date of May 27th at noon. Russell said as soon as Oak Bluffs Conservation gives approval the bushes will be ordered.
Warrant Articles Update
Aquinnah will be meeting tomorrow night.
Russell added that the MA Audubon people had commented that there was not enough signage on the beach regarding the dog regulations during the nesting season.
Russell also announced that the Wood's Hole Group's final report on a Beach Management was done. Carlene said that the next step for the Commissioners is to figure out a way to implement some of the things mentioned in the report. It was agreed that a subcommittee would address the report and bring back recommendations to the whole board.
Eastville Beach – Tristan Israel
Tristan reported that the Eastville Beach Committee met today at Eastville Beach. The purpose of the meeting was to address the knap weed that was growing on the dunes. It was decided that because of the nesting birds it would be done in either late September or early October. The Committee would like to pursue the State's proposal of a management plan. Tristan also said that a kiosk is being worked on. Tristan asked Russell to follow up with TJ about putting out some bait for skunks.
· The Dukes County Airport Commission will meet Wednesday May 21, 2008 at 5:30pm at the Airport Conference Room.
· The Dukes County Retirement Board will meet Tuesday June 6, 2008 at 10am at the Dukes County Administration Building.
· The Charter Study Commission will meet on Thursday May 15th at 5pm at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center.
· The Dukes County Commissioners will meet Wednesday June 11, 2008 at 5pm at the Dukes County Administration Building.
· Martha's Vineyard Commission Newsletter
· NACo Newsletter
· Boston Globe Article 5/13/08 from TJ to be discussed 6/11/08
The Commissioners adjourned the meeting at 6:20 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts