Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Vice-Chairman Carlene Gatting called the County Commissioner's meeting to order at 5:05 p.m. Commissioners Tristan Israel, Tom Hallahan, John Alley, Melinda Loberg and Les Leland were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, Peter Cabana, Peter Hefler and Joanie Ames of MVTV.
Presentation regarding the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative - Peter Cabana
Peter wanted to follow up on a presentation by Maggie Downey regarding the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative (“Cooperative”) at the last meeting. Peter is member of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and Tisbury representative to the Cape Light Compact. The Cape Light Compact is negotiating electricity prices at the retail level for the towns and residence. The Cooperative is like a utility – it could build power plans. The Cooperative has also ability to build its own facility, which will draw the prices even lower. There are other options like forming a cooperative for the island itself, but it is expensive to form a cooperative. It would be also more expensive for each town to act independently under the Green Communities Act and they would be fully financially liable if the project goes wrong. In the Cooperative the financial
liability is limited. Melinda said that as Maggie explained it at the last meeting the exposure is through the Purchase Power Agreements and the only liability for the towns is that they will have to honor the agreements. Peter suggested that the energy production is a field where the island should act as whole and the County would be a good vehicle for it. He recommended the County joining the Cooperative and appointing representative to the Board. He suggested inviting Paul Pimentel to the next meeting, as he worked on island plan for energy, to speak to the Commissioners and answer questions. Carlene asked what would be the drawbacks for joining the Cooperative? Peter said he would have to defer this to Maggie, he does not see any significant drawbacks from the power purchase standpoint. Tristan said that the fee to join is $25 and it would be advantageous for us if we could join in the benefits of projects happening on the Cape. Tristan suggested appointing Peter Hefler as our
representative to the Cooperative. Tom mentioned that the structure of the Executive Committee was an issue as pointed out at the last meeting. Peter said that the issue was discussed at the meeting and they deferred changing it until the organization has more members to decide what the new structure should be.
Tristan/John moved the Commissioners to write a letter to Representative Madden and Senator O’Leary asking to support not making any more cuts in the State budget to the programs from the elderly and those with mental illness. So voted. All in favor.
Board of Directors meets on Thursdays at 5pm. All runs well. There are 2 cats and one dog in the shelter now. Lisa Burke Hayes is running the shelter for us. We would like to have a grand opening at the end of June. We have $22,702 in donations. We would like to thank the families whose obituary asked for donations to the shelter in the name of their loved ones – Nancy Leighton and Ray Billings. Martina informed the Commissioners that we are waiting for the new website homepage for the County, which will have a link to the Animal Shelter website. Once we have it, we will post all news and information about the shelter. Pictures of animals will be available. We have new e-mail address for the shelter; the phone number stayed the same.
We received emergency waiver from DCAM waiving the bidding and publishing requirements. We also received the specifications and gave it to 6 companies to give us proposals for the repairs. We received 3 proposals - $264K, $210K and $175K. We initially had $150K to fix the roof. $10K was used to develop the specifications and another $5K for rubber paint and some inspections that needed to be done. The lowest proposal of $175K came with suggestions for other work what should be done at the same time – put a fan on top of the courtroom where the vent is and use rubber instead of modified bitumen. We informed DCAM that we only have $135K and so we are $40K short and that we also would like to have money for some contingencies and hire the company that did the specifications to inspect the progress, plus there are other repairs
inside that need to get done. We asked DCAM for an additional $70K and DCAM approved it. Russell met with the Edgartown Historic Commission and they approved the type of material for the roof. The contractor would be starting after Memorial Day. This contractor did other projects on the island like the roof on the Whaling Church.
On April 22 the Commissioners voted to support legislation regarding the changes in the Manager’s position and regarding the OPEB. We were asked to vote again to support the legislation regarding retirement benefits for Joann DeBettencourt. The Retirement Board made a mistake originally when stating what her retirement would be if she retires and would like to honor their mistake, which accounts for about $3K a year.
Tom/John moved to support the legislation regarding retirement benefits for Joann DeBettencourt. Discussion: Tom asked why is it only her retirement benefits, if the spreadsheet provided to all employees was incorrect and why is there such a delay between her retirement in 2003 and the letter from the Town of Oak Bluffs from 2005. Russell said that the legislation was filed before but did not pass and each time it is refilled they ask for new letters of support. Tristan suggested that our legislative liaison should work with our representatives and the committees and explain the issue. So voted. All in favor.
Tristan asked on the status of legislation on the County Manager's changes. Russell said that the bill was not yet assigned to a Committee. This is the time when the public hearings are held before the Committees.
A bill relative to local room tax was filed but it states that the towns located within the County would have the authority to impose this local excise tax. This is not the same bill that Mr. Leland was trying to pass for years as this benefits the towns and not the County. There has been no hearing set for this bill yet.
Parking lot at Eastville
Mr. Packer offered to donate material and truck it to the site to repair the big parking lot at the Eastville Beach. The parking lot will be graded prior to putting on new material. The Eastville Beach Committee has some money and may buy some sand hardener before putting the top layer. We filed an application with the Oak Bluffs Conservation Commission to agree to the work. We will also grade the road towards the bridge and the State will then finish the second parking lot. We will use a mix of sand hardener and blue stone. It would compact well. Tristan suggested having a “No parking” sign at the left corner so the cars could make the turn to the road on the left to go down towards the bridge. John suggested sending thank-you letter to Mr. Packer.
County Health Fair
The County Health Fair took place in Oak Bluffs School on Friday may 15th. People who are on Master Medical did come and get info on other plans the County is offering. It was a success.
The budget transfers for FY2009 budget were send to the State for an approval. The FY2010 budget is complete but was not presented for approval until we know what will happen with the Sheriff’s Bill because that will make an $80K difference.
John/Les moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:50 p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts