Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Vice-Chairman Tristan Israel called the County Commissioner's meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. Commissioners Les Leland, Tom Hallahan and Melinda Loberg were present.
Not present were Commission Chairman Carlene Gatting, Commissioners Leonard Jason and John Alley.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Exec. Assistant Martina Thornton, County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders, Charles Cotnoir, and Joanie Ames of MVTV.
2008 Minutes, including the execute meeting minutes were deferred to the next meeting as quorum was not reached on any of the Minutes.
Tristan Israel on behalf of the Chair appointed Charles Cotnoir as Associate Commissioner for Elder Affairs for 1 year.
FY2011 Proposed Budget (version dated 4/14/2010)
Russell said that the proposed budget for FY2011 results in surplus of about 14K. In FY09 there was $90K expended from the reserved fund, FY2010 we used about $10K from reserved fund. We came up with additional revenue and for FY2011 are not planning on using any of the reserve funds. It helps that the Vineyard Health Care Access Program (VHCAP) and the Rodent Control Program (Integrated Pest Management (IPM) expenses are being 70% paid for by the towns. The warrant articles, including the extra one for VHCAP have been voted in all towns except Aquinnah, which has not had their town meeting yet.
Melinda asked if we could look into the financial efficiency of the IPM program as there have been many questions about it at the town meetings and she was not able to provide any answers. Questions were asked about the Mosquito Program. Les said he sees the benefit of the program to towns but he feels that there could have been more done to reach the citizens to be able to take advantage of this program and save some money. Russell said that there was increase in IPM revenue from FY2009 to FY2010 by $5K, no increase is projected for FY2011. The cost of the school mandated integrated pest management program is about $1500 with a private contractor; we provide the service for $300. This program also services the town harbors. Tristan would like to form a group at the next meeting to explore the cost effectiveness of this program and see if we
could save money by contracting it out or having the employee on hourly wage. Noreen said that there was misinformation given at the town meeting about the IPM’s Mosquito Program. This program was for additional charge to the towns, and not part of the IPM. Les suggested talking to the Board of Health in each town to see what they would expect from the program as the towns will be taking it over.
Russell said that he would like the committee to look at what model will the County use for these regional services that are run under the County but funded by the towns. He feels that putting a warrant article for the financial support of each program each year before the voters is not effective. He understands the towns want to have oversight over the assessments from the County for these services but it should be done in a way that brings more stability to the valuable regional services, have a long-term buy-in by the town and not worry each year that some town is going to drop out without prior discussions or planning. The option to put a question before the voters to drop out should always be an option, if the towns choose to put it on the warrant. Russell is exploring how other counties handle this. Tristan would like to create a
separate committee to look at this particular issue.
Tristan asked if anything changes on the budget once all the warrant articles are voted in all towns. Noreen said that the additional money for the VHCAP will be added to income side but so will the expenses that the money will be used for and it will not affect the bottom line.
Answers to specific questions regarding the proposed budget (by department):
Les asked if the pay increases are more than a step. Russell: This reflects the adjustment for the change in health insurance from 90-10 to 75-25. The County pays 15% less and that reflects in the health insurance line and the employees are paid 15% more based on their plan, so all employees stay “whole”. No one makes out, it’s even.
Les asked if the workers’ compensation also increased. Noreen: We have to budget the worker’s compensation based on the budgeted payroll and the rate given for each occupation (more dangerous jobs have much higher rate – rodent control, janitorial, airport etc.) The County is part of the MIIA (Mass Inter-local Insurance Association) and if they have a good year we could get a credit (or dividend) during the year and it was several thousand dollars in the past, but we do have to budget the full amounts.
Dept. 300 – County Commissioners
Tristan asked what the total increase in expenses is for Dept. 300. Russell said 0.57%.
Dept. 301 – Associate Commissioners
Les asked about the increase in travel in Dept. 301. Russell: We paid the travel to the Pilgrim RD&D from Dept.300 – County Commissioners. It should really be paid out of Dept.301-Associate Commissioners as the travel for Peter Hefler to go to Cape Light Compact meetings is paid out of that account. So we moved the expense and decreased the travel expense by that amount in Dept.300. Martina added that included in the Dept.301 budget is also additional $500 ($400 supplies, $100 travel) that Chuck Cotnoir asked for as new Associate Commissioner for Elder Affairs.
Tristan asked why the County would not have one line for all the travel. Noreen said that this way we can have a better picture how much each department used for travel and don’t have to break it down at the end of the year.
Dept.310 – Parking Clerk
Les asked why is Carol Grant paid from this department now. Noreen: We will be processing the parking tickets in house, which would require more of Carol’s time. As the Sheriff’s department is gone, she will have more time to do it.
Tristan asked about the 63% increase in expenses, but only 42% increase in revenue? Noreen: We have to pay for the software and as they explained to the towns it will take couple of years to recover the cost.
Dept. 600 – Courthouse
Les asked if Eric Goldwire is part-time or full-time with benefits. Russell: Eric was receiving benefits all along. He is paid hourly and for years was exceeding 20 hours per week. We are budgeting for vacation buyback that accrued in prior years and would like to avoid him taking all the vacation and have additional expense by having to pay for someone else to clean the Courthouse.
Les asked why no money was spent from the sewer line. Noreen: We get billed once a year and the bill did not come yet.
Les asked about the comprehensive building insurance increase. Noreen: We have not made the final payment for FY2010 and we will be probably overdrawn and will have to recover it in the next FY. Also, with the Sheriff’s department gone we don’t know how it will affect the premium and are not sure if the premium decreases in correspondence with the decrease in value of the insured assets. We insure all the county buildings – Courthouse, New York Ave , Airport buildings under one policy and then it is divided among the departments with these buildings, so you will see a little increase in all these departments. If additional funds are needed because the insurance goes up substantially, Noreen would like to reflect that in a supplemental budget once we know the numbers.
Tristan asked why the repairs & maintenance increase, while other interior repairs decrease. Russell: We had to do some interior repairs after the water damage last year and the money to cover it was put in that line with a supplemental budget.
Dept. 610 – Administration Building
Les asked if the janitorial help is employee or contract. Russell: The janitor for the building is an employee.
Les asked why the general liability increases. Noreen: That is the building insurance and increase was explained earlier.
Tristan asked about the fuel oil contract expense. Russell: We will put a bid out for the oil by the end of fiscal year and then we will have better idea about the projected cost.
Tristan asked about the repairs & maintenance decrease. Russell: We had the furnace at the middle section of the building breaking last year and had to cover the cost. In FY2011 we are planning other repairs and maintenance on the building like painting etc.
Melinda asked if we have a capital expenses plan for the building. Noreen: No and she spoke with Standard & Poors and they were asking for our investment policy, debt policy, capital planning and she had to say that the Commissioners do not have one and asked Russell to bring it to the Board that it should be part of the Administrative Code. Tristan suggested that a spreadsheet of capital improvements should be worked on in the next 6 months. Noreen said that a list was done for the Courthouse a while back.
Tristan asked about the increase in lease? Noreen: There is an increment in the lease for the increase.
Dept. 700 – Engineering – zero – not operational anymore
Dept. 800 – New York Ave property
Les asked why the telephone is at zero. Noreen: Some expense is shown in Dept.1500 as part of the VHCAP and may be she pays it from the grants. She had to take out all the expenses other than her salary and pay it out of grants. Once the extra warrant article is voted in the towns and she can add the money and the expense to the budget.
Dept.1000 – Miscellaneous
Tristan asked about the increase in legal fees. Russell: We anticipate questions regarding rewriting the Administrative Code and the Personnel Bylaws.
Tom asked if we paid late for auditing in FY08. Noreen: The auditor did not finish the FY07 audit until FY09 and so we did pay them in FY09. Russell: We have a 3-year contract with the new auditor and it increases by $1000 each year.
Tristan asked about the increase in miscellaneous contractual. Martina: We have four annual reports to print and the estimate from DaRosa’s to print 100 copies at $2,500 each year. Tristan asked if it is a statutory requirement. Noreen said yes. Tom asked if we have to do a hard copy or if putting it on the website would be sufficient. Noreen did not know and said that we can look it up in Chapter 35. Russell said he wanted to go back to the booklet size from prior years and not 81/2 x 11. Tristan suggested printing only couple of copies for each prior year in house (81/2x 11 formats).
Les asked about the dues & membership increase. Martina: $1000 fee to Barnstable Purchasing (discounted purchasing of supplies through the Barnstable County -56% discount on office and janitorial supplies, also available to all municipalities in the County), $462 to National Association of Counties, $150 to Chamber of Commerce. The membership fee for the Mass Municipal Personnel Association $250 is included in the Dept. 300 and the $400 membership fee to Pilgrim RC & D is in Dept. 301 – Associate Commissioners.
Dept. 1201 (on cover sheet) - COLA
There is no COLA for FY11. Tom would like to do a projection for COLA as the all island fin com was talking about the using some index to project COLA island-wide. The County employees are being penalized because we are asked by the towns not to give it, but the towns do vote theirs in. Tom suggested taking the median COLA awarded to the town the year before as the past practice by the towns. Russell said that the employees get step increases and COLA is something extra that is or is not awarded each year. County does not have the same option of 2.5% override as the towns do and since County did not have one in over 20 years there are not extra funds for this. Tom said he feels it should be there as this issue came up when we did the health insurance shift. Tristan said that under our current structure the County does not have the financial
ability to give COLA. Tom asked if it could be passed to the towns through the assessment. Noreen said that we can not increase the Assessment by more than 2.5% but we do have the option of an override. We did pass one in 1994 for $150,000, which was still not enough to keep up with things as it gave the County about $16,000 increased income after we gave the MOE to the Sheriff and the Registry. Tom suggested the new financial committee that we are about to create should look at this. Noreen said that it is a problem because there are departments in the County (Airport, Registry) that do have funds to give a COLA to their employees and are not happy that the minority in the County is preventing everyone from getting a COLA. At the Airport the majority is union and they get a COLA per their union contract.
Dept. 1500 – Vineyard Health Care Access Program
Russell said that the difference between FY09 and FY2010 expense is the extra funds voted at town meetings as an additional warrant article from VHCAP.
Dept. 1800 (on cover sheet) – Retiree Health & Life Insurance
The Registry and the Airport reimburses the County for their retirees.
Dept. 2000 – Natural Resources
Les asked what is the $1000 in miscellaneous contractual. Russell: We manage the State Beach from the grant given by the State, but we also manage other beaches (Eastville, Tashmoo, Owen Little Way...) and would like to have some money to manage our properties.
Dept. 2200 – Emergency Management
Les asked what is the $2,500 in miscellaneous contractual for. Noreen: That is stipend paid by the Airport to Chuck for being on call in case of any incidents at the Airport as he is qualified to do reports to FAA as required.
Les asked about the education and other lines as Chuck did not spend any money yet he is budgeting little more in each line. Noreen: Chuck increased everything by 2.5%. Martina: Chuck goes to some training seminars too.
Dept. 3000 - Treasurer
Noreen explained that the budget went down due to the shift of part of the payroll for Carol to Parking Clerk department. We might be able to also shift some health insurance and other deductions there. There will be longevity added to the budget. Not as much as $1500 as part of it will come from the Parking Clerk’s department.
Tristan asked if the decrease in allocation of indirect costs (on cover sheet) is due to the Sheriff’s leave. Noreen: Yes but the exact number is still unknown.
Tom said that Noreen’s salary does not increase, nor does Diane’s. He would like to look at how the salary is set and have formula how to increase it over time, so they do not set the salary themselves. Noreen said she would appreciate it and added that she, Dianne and Russell were not part of the calculations for compensation for the change in the health insurance. Noreen said that the Treasurer’s office is being reimbursed by the Airport and the Registry of Deeds (and used to be by the Sheriff’s dept. also) and they have an allocation formula that is approved by the FAA that could be used for other regional entities should they provide accounting services for them. On the other hand if the salary is being shifted to Parking Clerk’s department, it reduces the amount the Treasurer’s dept. is reimbursed.
Melinda asked how much was the reimbursement from the Sheriff’s dept. Noreen said about $25,000.
Dept. 3200 – Integrated Pest Management
Tristan asked about the telephone increase. Russell said he will look into it.
Les asked about the travel in state? Martina said it does not include the travel to Pilgrim RC&D, which was paid from Dept.300 (County Commissioners) in FY10 and in FY11 it is budgeted under Dept. 301(Associate Commissioners) to separate it. T.J. gets supplies off island. Noreen added that he also goes to seminars to keep up his license that are weekend seminars and include hotel and other travel expenses. He usually picks up supplies while he travels to RC&D. Les asked if the supplies could be shipped and look if we could save that way. Tristan asked if we could look at all the little increases in all the budgets lines (stationary, licenses etc.) as they do add up.
Les asked about the increase in miscellaneous supplies by another $1,300, yet T.J. did not use all the money this year. Russell: T.J. was able to get a lot of supplies donated this year. Noreen: T.J. buys supplies at the end of the fiscal year to make sure it will keep him going through the beginning of next fiscal year. Les noted that the increase in materials should reflect in increased revenue.
Tom suggested having a Department Head of each department that goes over 2.5% explain the increase.
Dept. 3398 – Registry of Deeds (M.O.E.)
Noreen explained that this is only the Maintenance of Effort. Their budget is included on the last page.
Dept. 3399 – Sheriff’s Department (M.O.E.)
Russell said that through Noreen’s and his effort they stopped the State taking another $100K from the County in FY10. Noreen - for FY11 the $501K goes directly to the Retirement System, County collects it and it goes towards the unfunded liabilities of the Sheriff’s retired employees. Tristan asked if the OPEB fund will be created. Noreen said that the legislation is in the Third Reading at the Legislature. All towns will have to vote on it.
Russell said that this budget is balanced with $13,975.43 in surplus. Noreen said that hopefully in three weeks the Airport Budget will be also available. Les reminded the Commissioners to look at the Manager’s salary at the next meeting, since he had a good review. Tom asked if we could look at the salaries of all the Department Heads.
Draft of the Regional Study of Public Services was distributed to the Commissioners.
Easement for Edgartown Water Department for the County property on Aero Road in Katama. Edgartown Water Department asked to lay pipe across the county lots on AERO Road. Russell asked them to lay the pipes under the Aero Road as shown on the assessor’s map and not under the path that goes through the two lots that the County owns. Thank-you to the Farm Institute who paid for the survey, which will show where the actual property line is. The Edgartown Water Department agreed to lay it under the actual road as show on the map, there are no obstacles in the way, but is asking for the easement from the neighbors anyway. Noreen said that the easement would have to be voted on by the County Commissioners. Tristan asked Russell to find out if they really need the easement for maintenance and get back to them at the next meeting
if they need to vote on it.
Personnel Sub-committee Report
Melinda distributed the report and urged them to read it as it proposes creating a Personnel Board and get back to the sub-committee members with any questions or suggestions. They will meet again to finalize the proposal. It also seems that the Administrative Code needs updating and Melinda proposed for the Chair to appoint a sub-committee to do the review of the Administrative Code. Tom suggested it be people with history on serving on the Commission. Tristan asked Russell to let Carlene know so she will be ready to appoint people to this new committee. Tristan said he would be interested in participating on the first committee mentioned.
- Letter of thank-you from the Oak Bluffs Highway Department for the good work done on the Little Channel dredging.
- Invitation from the MV/DC Fishermen’s Association to their annual dinner to all the Commissioners, Russell and Martina.
Tom/Les moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:05 p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts