Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, September 30, 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 John Alley, Melinda Loberg, Tom Hallahan and Les Leland were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, Marc Hanover – SSA representative, Connie Teixeira – Assoc. Commissioner for Homeless and Joanie Ames of MVTV.
Marc Hanover- SSA representative
All good news. He presented a chart showing increase in passengers and fees between 1961-2008 and it shows that the passengers are key to the SSA revenue. The Vineyard went from 300,000 passengers in 1961 to 3 million in 2008. No rate increase anticipated for next year. Budgeted net operating income was $3 million; there will be close to $6 million. There are savings on 58,000 gallons of fuel. The online reservations are about 40%. July was good, August was excellent and September was 35% up! The union agreements are coming up next year and that will be a question. Marc feels that if there are fewer passengers in the winter do we still need 14-15 people on the boat. Hi-Line and New England Fast Ferry were substantially down. The New England Fast Ferry asked not to have to run December through March. They dedicated 15% off revenue
to advertising and they still did not see the demand. The price is too high. There is a proposal to do a Wood Hole stop. There is also proposal to barge island trash to the railroad in New Bedford, which would have to be licensed by the SSA. Oak Bluffs terminal final phase will starts October 12th ($5 million in federal funding). New firm will do passenger walk way; there will be no staging up on top. They will also extend the public bathrooms, etc. Nantucket football team has a new coach and they do not want to come to play the Vineyard. The SSA cut the price for them to come in half - that was still too expensive... Vineyard proposed an off island location and SSA would transport everyone for free but they do not want to do that either. The excursion rates start October 12th. Washington State ordered plans for two more boats at $400,000 each; we should get the money next fall. They already paid for one and they also talk about another one.
Connie Teixeira – Associate Commissioner for Homeless
We have 9 chronically homeless people on the island at the present. All of them are substance abuse people except one and as soon as they come back to island they go back to their habit. They refused to go off island to the Noah shelter where they could get help. We do not have resources here on the island and it is too expensive to have them in hotel, which is about $900 per month, and they have only $900 in the account. We only paid for hotels in the coldest winter days. There will be rules to attend the meetings before we pay for the housing this winter, they will have to sign that they are clean. We are working with the Affordable Housing and the Vineyard House on placing them. The goal would be to have a house on the Vineyard where they could stay and pay for it by doing work for the County and the towns. Connie goes twice a month to
Hyannis and works with the Cape Cod on eliminating homelessness on the island. The people on the street have often mental health issues and there is no affordable doctor and beds on the island. The stimulus package was $200,000 short for the homeless. We work with the Island Community Services who do the intake for us. We are trying to get our 2 apartment units back we lost last year and we hope to have a case manager to come to the island twice a month. They formed a committee to work on fundraisers. Day of Music and friends – all day music affordable for everyone to come and evening would be more formal with invitation (island caterers to donate appetizers). Tom asked about the homeless level 3 sexual offenders. Connie said that it makes it difficult to place them in the shelter as the shelter has children and women. The housing rules in MA are very strict and for homeowners it is a big risk to house homeless people.
Fuel Bid - Only one bid came in form R.M. Packer Co. for 68 cents above the Boston rack price.
John/Carlene moved to accept the bid from R.F. Packer Co. and release the bonding requirement and return the bonding check. All in favor.
CPA funds for the replacement of the Courthouse. We applied for CPA funds in West Tisbury and will be submitting applications in the other 5 island towns for funds to replace 21 windows and start the masonry work. We are asking for $51,600, divided among the 6 towns using the “50/50” formula.
House Bill H3956 proposing the room tax, where county would keep 1% and towns would keep 1% is before the legislature; it did go to committee hearing today. We filed it before and this year the State used the idea and passed legislation as part of the community relieve act for the towns to vote in a 2% room tax that they could keep (no money to the County).
Oak Bluffs Water System had problem with the coliform bacteria. We put information about it on county website after Oak Bluffs ok’d the information. Monday samples came back clean. Sarah Kuh would help us to translate the info into Portuguese.
Leases with the Sheriff’s Office were signed – one for the back lot at the jail for $12K and sub-lease for the Communication Center land at the Airport.
Letter from Richard Knabel, Selectman in West Tisbury (in correspondence section) is in response to the MA Ocean Management Plan, suggesting that all island selectmen and the county commissioners go to the Governor to express their feelings about it. The state review board is coming back to the island next month. Tom suggested to go to meet the Governor before the review board comes back to the island and we should have a pre-meeting before going to Boston. Tom, Carlene, Melinda and Russell would be interested to go. Melinda suggested for Ian Bowles to be there at the same time. MV Commission would vote tomorrow on the “District of Critical Planning Concern”. Edgartown requested DCPC only on waters surrounding the island, all other towns asked for DCPC on water and land.
We are at the end of 5 month of the 6 months we were asked to do it for. We will be preparing financial reports and will ask to stay the course. We would like to make Lisa Burke Hayes a full time county employee with benefits. We are now creating job description and will advertise for the position. We did not have to ask the towns for any funds so far. We would like to ask the towns to keep the commitment to support the shelter if needed. The County has a lease for the building from the MSPCA for 1 year.
Cathryn Mancuso is inviting us to a breakfast on November 13th in Edgartown Council on Aging to meet with the seniors to talk about aging on the Vineyard.
Melinda said that there is an offer from the public health officials to give a presentation about the flu and the upcoming flu clinic on November 11th for the regular seasonal flu. The commissioners agreed to invite them to the next meeting. There will be staging in Waban Park in Oak Bluffs and Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, and then the cars will be directed to go to the High School. The forms are available on the county website. There is no vaccination for the H1N1 flu yet.
John/Melinda moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:50 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts