Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Lenny Jason, Jr. called the County Commissioners’ meeting to order at 5p.m. Commissioners Tristan Israel, Thomas Hallahan, Leslie Leland, Melinda Loberg were present. Carlene Gatting jointed the meeting later.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, Airport Manager Sean Flynn, Vineyard Health Care Access Program Director Sarah Kuh and Joanne Ames of MVTV.
Tristan Israel/ Tom Hallahan moved to approve the minutes of June 24, 2009. In favor: Jason, Israel, Hallahan, Leland. Melinda Loberg abstained. (4-0-1)
Tristan Israel/Les Leland moved to approve the minutes of July 8,2009. All in favor.
The Chairman Lenny Jason appointed Peter Hefler as the County’s representative to the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative.
Russell reported that he signed the application for the County to become a member of the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative and wrote a letter to let then know that we would like to have a discussion about changing the policies about the constitution of the Executive Committee.
Vineyard Health Care Access Program – report by Sarah Kuh
Insurance enrollment and retention of health insurance coverage is still the main activity of the program. The data for FY08 and FY09 are about the same - 15% of year-round islanders were helped. ***Carlene joined the meeting. *** They also help with food stamps and other related services for people on state benefits programs and so they serve as an unofficial liaison to the State Department of the Transitional Assistance to help people to transition on and off the unemployment health insurance etc. In June they did an “open enrollment” for the Commonwealth Care as people needed to switch plans. They helped about 250 people. They also have their own emergency and prescription assistance program that they fundraise for (about $10K a year). They help about 2- to 30 low-income elderly people per month. Another initiative is the oral health
program for children from Head Start to 2nd grade from families that have the Commonwealth Care coverage called Vineyard Smiles. They also started an affordable dental care for low-income elderly. The VHCAP was funded $90K in FY2009 (40% county, 60% towns) and an additional $30K was received from 5 towns (not Edgartown) after an additional request. The grants are ending and some are not being renewed. The funding is at about 60% of what the program had a year ago. Vineyard Nursing Association has contracts with the towns for health promotion and they decided to partially support the Vineyard Smiles in FY2010. Lenny asked if they get some funds from the schools. Sarah said no but they did not really ask. The oral education would fit into it and it is inexpensive as they only do kindergarten through 2nd grade. The Governor overrode the outreach and enrollment grant and the governor’s veto was overridden last week. The County and Health Council did send letters and made
phone calls to advocate for the override. Carol Seal, the administrative assistant is retiring after 6 years with the program at the end of July. The funding does not allow replacing her. Sarah is planning on increasing her hours from 28 to 35hours per week paid by the County (before the difference was paid by the grants). They will have one person come one day every two weeks from the Network Health Group to help in the office. The proposed budget transfer reflects the personnel change and the increase in Sarah’s salary. In FY2009 the VHCAP had 6500 client encounters, they did over 1500 applications (one per family) resulting in helping about 2500 people. The biggest number of people they helped is by following up and to help them stay covered. ***Sean Flynn joined the meeting. *** Melinda asked if the state has any agency like them to help people with health insurance coverage. Sarah said that the state is helping people but there is a huge difference in results depending on if
the person calling knows the system or not as the bureaucracy is enormous and many people are not able to get through to get help. Tom asked where would the service fit in with the proposed home medical care. Sarah said that they already are cooperating with the Island Health Care in Edgartown. Their position with the County is the right one right now. Sarah said that as long as the programs are eligibility based, people would need their help to prove the eligibility for entering the program and assistance to renew annually. Russell said that the transfer is just a line item transfer to reflect the personnel changes.
Tristan/Melinda moved to approve the transfers. Discussion: Lenny asked if Carol Seal was eligible for retirement. Sarah said no as she worked under 20 hours per week. So voted. All in favor.
Health Insurance Sub-Committee report – Melinda Loberg
Melinda distributed report and said that they are still gathering information to prepare for negotiations with the union representatives. They will meet again on August 17th and will have report after that.
Courthouse roof repair - update
Russell is meeting with the Edgartown Historic Commission to agree on the finishes. The dumpster was removed from the site.
Eastville Beach – update
County rebuilt the parking lot. There is still work to be done on the access road. The State Fishing Access Board is interested to acquire land by the jetty and create parking for the fishermen there. Tristan said that now we would have to go before the Tisbury Conservation Commission with the plans for approval. Russell showed the map of proposed work to crate 8 parking spaces by the end of the access road and fix up the access road. Tristan said they could potentially help us also with fencing there and bigger maintenance work. Russell said that the parking lot was improved with the CPA money from Oak Bluffs and Tisbury. County coordinated the work. Russell said that the agreement with the State needs to be ironed out but the Commissioners could now conceptually agree to the work the State is proposing. Tristan added that there would be
restriction on swimming from the bulkhead pilings to the jetty only. Lenny asked if the State would do anything with the rest of the parking lot. Tristan said that they could eventually help improve the fencing by the access road but most of the work is already being done with the CPA money. Melinda said that they have a survey plan to help organize the parking lot.
Carlene/Tristan moved to approve the presented concept at the Eastville beach. So voted. All in favor.
Melinda said that a new dog bag dispenser was put up there. The beach is a “carry in, carry out” beach and she hopes that the public will cooperate with that, as there is no designated group to clean the beach. Tristan said that the kiosk is up also and there will be regulations posted.
Owen Little Way, Tisbury
Tristan would like to ask the County to improve the parking lot at Owen Little Way in Tisbury. Les asked who is using this parking lot. Melinda said that it is a public neighborhood beach. Tristan said that the parking sign allows for 4 hour parking and if it was fixed we could get another 3-4 parking spaces there.
Parking at the Courthouse
Lenny suggested having a policy that the parking at the Courthouse should be reserved for the Courthouse employees only during regular business hours and it should be open to the public after hours. Carlene agreed. Lenny asked Russell to talk to the Clerk of Courts to find out who will have to have space reserved 24hours and come up with a policy for the next meeting.
Tristan/Carlene moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:00 p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts