Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Thursday, April 16, 2009
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Lenny Jason called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 12:10 p.m. Commissioners Tristan Israel, Les Leland and Carlene Gatting were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, County Treasurer Noreen Mavro-Flanders, Register of Deeds Dianne E. Powers, Joanie Ames of MVTV and Nelson Sigelman of MV Times.
County Manager’s report
Russell reported that the two county articles passed at the Annual Town Meetings in Edgartown, Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury. We have two more towns to go. The overrides still have to be passed.
The Sheriff’s Bill in on the Senate floor and the amendments that we are supporting will be brought forward there.
FY2009 budget transfers
Noreen presented new FY2009 budget coversheet reflecting proposed transfers, including supplemental budget from the Airport. We are expecting $80K decrease in revenue in FY2009, mainly due to decrease in income from the registry fees and the deeds’ excise tax. We managed to decrease the appropriations by $82,242 since there was no need to borrow the $30K to repair the roof and $7.5K interest on that loan. We also saved in the county commissioner’s budget because the Manager was contractual with no benefits for half of the year and the executive assistant was not here for the entire year.
Health Council requested that all money budgeted for them in FY2009 except for $100 be transferred to the Vineyard Health Care Access Program (VHCAP) - about $4,000.
The Airport decreased their expenses by 17.73% due to expected loss in revenue. The also had a layoff.
Tristan was not in favor of the transfer from Heath Council to VHCAP. Russell stated that this transfer should be voted on by the Commissioners and must be approved by the County Advisory Board. The VHCAP lost money due to lack of grants this year and they had to lay people off because of lack of funds.
Carlene asked what is EAP? Noreen explained that that is the Employee Assistance Program, which is an outside support program for the county employees.
Noreen also explained that we overbudgeted on general liability in the Commissioners and Natural Resources lines.
Tristan asked why we have to transfer $7,000 to the miscellaneous contractual line. Noreen explained that we did not budget for the whole year of payments to Cape & Island EMS, as the Sheriff was expected d to take it over. It is $12K per year. The extra $2,500K needed in Dept. 1400 - Bureau of Economic Development, is for the extra advertising cost due to the special promotion that they did. That raised an additional $89K for the county.
Noreen said that overall we will break even or be a little in black in FY2009. The extra income that was not projected should go to the reserve fund. We are expecting $15K from the Trustees of Reservation for the FY2009, $8K from the Treasurer’s office due to extra grant administration fee and $58K from the State for use of the Courthouse, which is higher than projected.
Tristan/Les moved to approve the budget transfers as presented including the Airport’s supplemental budget. So voted. All in favor.
Russell informed commissioners that he prepared a 6-month budget for the new animal shelter. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission has funds to pay a professional to develop a business plan for the shelter. People are supporting the new shelter with donations. We hope to have a 1-year lease with the MSPCA for the building with option to renew. The Task Force agreed on a name of Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard. Russell is working on a 6-month plan to serve the community. The MSPCA’s budget was $130K in red. We would like to keep the deficit under $50K and with luck in fundraising we could break even. It would be a private-public co-operation overseen by a Board of Directors. The County would be responsible for the administration, personnel with the commitment from towns to support the shelter financially. The Board of Directors would be
responsible for fundraising and operation of the shelter as these people would be versed in the rules and issues of running the shelter.
Noreen added that the County would use reserve funds to front the money with the expectation to be reimbursed by the towns. Tristan added that there was support for this model at the All-island Selectmen’s meeting. Dianne Powers confirmed that. Russell said that the County Advisory Board would be asked tomorrow to approve the transfer of the needed funds from the reserve fund for this purpose. He will present the budget to the Selectmen and when we know better how much money might be needed from the towns. The County set up a special account where all the donations for the animal shelter are deposited. Anybody can send donations to the Count of Dukes County, P.O. Box 190, Edgartown, MA 02539. We will publish names of the donors on the website. Noreen added that we could send letters to people acknowledging their donations.
Noreen informed the Commissioners that Representative Madden filed legislation to create a “pool” trust that the towns could join and put money aside to begin funding Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB). A group of representatives of the interested parties have been meeting for last year and a half regarding this issue. Last year Governor Patrick allowed the individual towns to put money aside, but there was no provision regarding towns joining together to create a pooled trust fund, whereby joining together, the municipalities could get a better return. The legislation was also missing provisions in regards to other public organizations like Martha’s Vineyard Commission, districts etc. In order for Representative Madden to move the proposed legislation forward he needs certified minutes from the commissioners’ meeting showing the
Commission’s support for this legislation.
Tristan moved and Carlene seconded to support the legislation authorizing the government employers in the County of Dukes County to establish a Pooled Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust Fund in regards to the Government Accounting Standards Boards (GASB) statements #43 and #45. So voted. All in favor.
Noreen also asked for support for the legislative changes regarding the County Manager form of government as proposed by the County Charter Study Commission..
Carlene moved, Tristan seconded to support the changes in legislation regarding the County Manager, namely that he will serve at the pleasure of the commissioners, that he must reside within the county after the incumbent’s initial probationary period, that his position could be a part-time position and that his salary shall be reasonable and commensurate with the fact that the position could be full- or part-time position. So voted. All in favor.
Nelson Sigelman asked Noreen, why was the excess income was not reflected at the changed budget summary. Noreen explained to him that at this point we are transferring budget appropriation between different budget lines. We are not creating a new budget. We are only decreasing appropriations to reflect the fact that our projected income is down, thus preventing the unused funds left in the budget to be spent in the last 3 months of the fiscal year. The excess income that we receive (the $89K from the Cape & Island License Plates) should go to the reserve fund. Noreen offered to give to Mr. Sigelman a current financial statement showing the actual financial standing of the County. At this meeting we are only dealing with budget.
Noreen also asked the Commissioners for permission to show the County Advisory Board the FY2010 draft budget reflecting the changes proposed by the Finance Committee and the changes in the Sheriff’s Bill - that the health insurance for the Sheriff’s retirees will not be the County’s liability once the State takes over. The Commissioners agreed. Tristan noted that had Russell come up with a couple of things that will balance the FY2010 budget even without the legislation.
Tristan/Les moved to adjourn. All in favor. The meeting ended at 1 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts