Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Carlene Gatting called the County Commissioner's meeting to order at 5:05 p.m. Commissioners Tom Hallahan, Lenny Jason, Tristan Israel, John Alley and Les Leland were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders and Joanie Ames of MVTV.
Carlene suggested to go around the table and have each Commissioner to add to the list of ideas and priorities that the County should focus on in two categories – current county projects and new projects. These are the ideas the Commissioners suggested:
Current County Projects & Asset management
- Courthouse- short-term and long-term plan (renovation & maintenance - CPA funds, grants, etc.)
- Animal Shelter (long-term plan)
Long-term vision for the county role and what the towns expect from, new ideas
- Finance Sub-Committee or at least one of the Commissioners to follow up on Audit, review budget and work with Noreen and Russell.
- File storage for towns (at the Airport property)
- Regional Dog Pound (may be as part of the long term plan for the Animal Shelter)
- Alternative Energy Public-Private Partnership – for the County to play an integrating role as outlined in the Island Plan (for wind power and other alternative energy resources)
- Role in a regional utility licensing on the island (fiber optic cable, other new technologies etc.), there are federal grants available and it could be a source of revenue
- To explore any possibility for generating extra revenue
- Grant writing for the towns – could bring little extra revenue
- Coordination (regional acquiring of contracts) for town services like assessment services etc.
- Regional role as clearing house for town fines and penalties issued by town departments like electrical inspectors
- Act as a forum for regional discussions to come up with solutions to regional problems, create sub-committees where the public will be more involved and tap into the knowledge of people who retired on the island (create a capital improvement committee to look over budgets of the County, the towns, other regional organizations like the MV Commission, VTA, SSA etc. as the Island-wide Fin Com does not cover all the regional organizations…). We appoint a SSA representative. Carlene said she would not want to duplicate the work of the County Advisory Board (CAB). Noreen explained that the CAB only reviews and approves the county budget but they did not ever create a sub-committee to look at any other issues. Noreen said we have an operational review coming up in May and suggested to wait for the results before the commissioners make a
decision on creating a new committee. Carlene said she would like to have a written confirmation that they are coming in May to do the review and that her understanding was that they will review the functionality and efficiency of the county departments, which is different from what she had in mind.
- Lenny said that Jeff Burgoyne suggested for the County to get involved in the enhanced 911. Les explained that it allows placing a phone call to residents in case of emergency. Martina said that different groups on the island are looking into the reverse 911. Some towns are taking their own approach as Oak Bluffs and Edgartown and some regional groups are looking into a regional approach like the Sheriff and the police departments. There has been no decision yet. Russell said that the emergency directors did start implementing Code Red, which is a system that you put a message on and the computer calls everybody in town. There are different levels, one for emergency, and other for informational messages. The Associate Commissioner for Public Health Chris Knowles is working on how to communicate with people in cases less then emergency.
Carlene said that we could continue the discussion once we see the results of the Study of Regional Services.
Budget – Noreen is working on the FY2010 budget transfers. Noreen said that at this time of the year we look at the budget and make changes to reflect the extraordinary and unforeseen. The CAB likes the county commissioners to see it and recommend it before they vote on it. CAB meets on April 1st at 2.30pm. Commissioners agreed to have a special meeting on Wednesday March 31, 2010 at 1.45pm to look at the transfers. Russell said that the FY2011 budget will be presented at the next meeting. Noreen added that we are not under any time constraints as we do not have the County Government Finance Review Board and it only needs to be approved by the County Advisory Board.
Tristan/ Lenny moved to adjust the County budget process so we have approved budget by March 15th or at any earlier date that the towns would require for their budgetary process. So voted. All in favor.
Russell thanked the Commissioners for the sterling annual review at the last meeting and Martina for her help.
The filed legislation regarding the changes to the County Manager section and the OPEB legislation are in a 3rd reading. Lenny asked about the 2 year term for the County Commissioners. Russell said that we do not need legislation for that, it was voted already. Martina will e-mail all the commissioners a list of whose terms is coming up and what are the dates for filing.
April 1st is the deadline for the State Ethics Commission’s on-line Conflict of Interest Law training. The Statement of Financial Interest is due in May.
All the town assessors are using the ESRI platform now that the County got a license for. Chris Sidel from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission is giving classes every Friday. EMS, Police, Fire and Ambulances are getting the software on the screen in their cars and the dot on the map would tell them where to go. A private third party is developing the program for the dot, which is taking longer then expected.
Town of Tisbury asked us for assistance in putting on a workshop with the State’s Department of Capital Asset Management on how to get DCAM certified so the contractors could bid on public jobs. The seminar is on April 2nd at 3pm at the Katherine Cornell Theater. We will advertise the requirements for getting certified in the newspaper.
We submitted a NACO grant for planning eelgrass in Sengekontacket Pond. We did not get it last year so we are trying again.
CPA Committees in all towns approved to bring the County’s proposal for window replacement in the Courthouse to their town meetings, except for Aquinnah, where we don’t know the decision yet.
We are working with Comcast on re-instituting the internet on Cuttyhunk, which is very important for the everyday living and business on Cuttyhunk. Comcast agreed to put it back.
Little Bridge construction caused that the channel closed off completely. We are working with the Oak Bluffs Highway Department to dredge it before April1st when the piping plovers start showing up. We are putting the sand in the 4 stone groins’ south side. We are using the state grant money for the beach erosion protection to do that. We have permission of the Oak Bluffs Conservation Commission to go over the dunes with the truck as long as we replant the damaged areas. Carlene asked about the sand quality. Russell said that it is same size and clean and the grain analyses were part of the permit process.
The Animal Shelter Committee filled in the open position on the board and would like Duncan Ross to be the new member. Russell said that the other members were appointed to the Committee by vote and so he would like Duncan Ross to be appointed.
Lenny/John moved to appoint Duncan Ross as the fifth member of the Animal Shelter Board. So voted. All in favor.
Open Cape received $32million to run cable from Providence, RI to Cape Cod and they included Martha’s Vineyard in their proposal to microwave the service to the island, specifically Chappaquiddick as an underserved area. Russell went and thanked them for including us and that we are looking forward to working with them. Russell said he would like to work with them on bringing cable instead of microwave. They will be serving the educational, emergency and governmental institutions as backbone of the project. The second option is a fiber cable proposal to bring it from Fairhaven by GPCS group. There is a third group talking to Open Cape to run the cable from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard. Russell said that he would like to negotiate the use of the public right-of-ways on regional bases as he told the all-island selectmen for 5%
of their adjusted gross income. Carlene asked if these groups would compete or if it would be serving different customers. Russell said that it would be most likely just one group bringing the cable over the channel and then open it to the service companies like Comcast who would bring it to people’s houses.
The Study on delivery of public services was done in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. The report would be available at the next meeting and we will e-mail it to the Commissioners.
Anson Krickl, our Associate Commissioner for Affairs Concerning Handicapped send a letter explaining that he would not want to stay in a way of a new candidate as he is busy and can not dedicate enough time to the position as he used to. Russell said that we advertised couple of times and did not get any response and that Anson is very knowledgeable and did a great job for the past 6 years.
Carlene reappointed Anson Krickl as Associate Commissioner for Affairs Concerning Handicapped.
Lenny said it would be nice if we could give him some resources to help him in that position.
Carlene said she would like to have periodic report from the Associate Commissioners at least once a year. Tristan said he would also like to hear more from the Health Council. Lenny suggested getting the Minutes of the Health Council meetings in the packets. John said that he asked Sean to come to give report on the Airport and to set up a joint meeting with the Airport Commission.
“Flip the Switch” flyer in the packets is a request from the Vineyard Conservation Society to shut the lights on Saturday March 27th from 8.30 to 9.30pm.
Noreen said that the former County Treasurer Margaret O’Neal past yesterday morning, the service is on Friday at 11am at Saint Elizabeth’s. The Retirement Board is sending flowers. Carlene suggested making a private donation to the case of the family’s choice.
Tristan said that on Saturday at noon there will be a clean up and nap weed pulling at Eastville beach, rain date is Sunday at noon. Please bring gloves and weed diggers. The Oak Bluffs Highway Department is bringing the truck.
Lenny asked if we did anything about the Owen Little Way. Russell said no, he will talk to the Tisbury Highway Department.
Carlene would like a “Status report” at every meeting of on-going things and have a quarterly report on answers to the Management Letter attached to the agenda.
Tom asked about the process of the visioning. He would like to prioritize based on man power, budget and the community needs so we discussing the most pressing topics first. Carlene suggested that she meets with Russell and they come up with what they feel are the priorities. Tristan said that the list is not that long, we had discussions with the towns couple of years ago and he would like start moving on it. Tom said it would be helpful to have quarterly reports on what projects are we working on, who is in charge, what progress we made and how much of the budget did we spend.
Lenny said that there has been a Sub-committee for the Courthouse, which included Carlene, Russell, Joe Sollitto, Diane Powers and Art Smadbeck. Carlene said that the sub-committee prioritized what needs to be done but the funds are a concern. We are working on the esthetics and energy conservation - windows replacement through the CPA money. Electrical system is old; it does not meet the current electrical needs. We should be looking for money from the state as this could be a safety hazard to the employees. Lenny suggested looking into the DCAM report. Carlene suggested looking for a grant. Martina said she did preliminary search for a grant for the Courthouse with no success but we will keep trying as the building is on both State and National Register of Historic Places. Tristan suggested to get public involved and create a committee for
the building so the people who are interested in the building and have an expertise could be more involved. Russell said that he spoke with Joe Sollitto and he was not apposed to the idea of “Friends of the Courthouse”. Carlene would welcome everyone who would be interested on serving on that committee to give Russell a call at 508-696-3840. She would also like to upgrade the landscaping around the building. Russell said we just finished repairing all the interior damage that was done by the water over the years and we will keep the Courthouse on the top of our list.
John/Lenny moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:38 p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts