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DCC Minutes 01-19-2011
Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
5 p.m.
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA

Commissioner Present: Carlene Gatting, Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg, Les Leland, Tom Hallahan and John Alley.

County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant to County Manager, Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer, Joseph E. Sollitto, Jr.  – County Clerk.

*Others: Daniel Seidman, David Vigneault – Dukes County Regional Housing Authority

1. Meeting was called to order at 5:05 PM

2. Joe Sollitto swore in county commissioners elected in fall elections: Melinda Loberg, Les Leland, Tristan Israel, Carlene Gatting for a two year term to expire in January 2013.

* Joe Sollitto left the meeting.

3. Appointment to Dukes County Regional Housing Authority (DCRHA)
Carlene read the letter from Town of Tisbury requesting the appointment (see attached).

John/Melinda moved to appoint Daniel Seidman as the Tisbury representative to the DCRHA. All in favor.

Carlene asked what role does DCRHA play in the effort to fight homelessness. Martina said that she spoke with David Vigneault who explained to her that it is not in the charter of the DCRHA. They are a partner to Connie in her efforts but do not have the mandate, the funds and the manpower to take this task over. Martina is working with Connie to better define the role of the Associate Commissioner for Homeless and to identify who could help her in her efforts. There was confusion about funding for next year and that needs to be addressed as well. Tristan agreed that there was never agreement that the commissioners will fund it in the budget next year. Carlene agreed that there needs to be coordination of efforts. Martina explained that last year the $15K federal grant to fight homelessness went to a special homeless fund created under the Island Affordable Housing Fund and Connie applied her best judgment how to spend the money. When she asked to be appointed she listed number of things that she will be doing as Assoc. Commissioner for Homeless. It turned out that all of it could not possibly be done by one person and she partnered with number of organizations on the island to help her efforts. The question remains, who will do some of the needed services Connie can not do it all for liability or other reasons. We are working on it and there will be presentation to the commissioners once we have some answers. She should definitely continue the advocacy efforts in conjunction with the Community Action Committee in Hyannis. Russell said that the $5K was transferred to the budget for this winter and will be used strictly for getting people off the streets into a hotel, not for paying peoples’ heating or mortgage bills.

* David Vigneault joined the meeting and gave an update report on the activities of the DCRHA. The rental assistance program shifted from private funding to being fully funded by the towns through the Community Preservation Act funds last year. It was funded through the Island Affordable Housing Fund. They put $2.8million in it over the 8 years and established a great program. We provide the towns with information on who uses the program and for how long. The towns make the final decision how much they want to fund the program for the next year. The assessment request to the towns for the administration cost of the DCRHA (3 employees, plus the expense for financial audit, legal cost etc.) is $228,520 for the FY2012. David thanked Martina for supplying them every year with the 50/50 formula (50% based on population and 50% on equalized valuation), which the towns agreed on in 2002. They manage 11 properties in four towns – 64 units. Another 6 units will be open in June in Chilmark. Tristan asked why some subsidies are in some towns still available. David explained that 60% of people on the waiting list do not earn sufficient income to pay up to 50% of the rent to landlords that are willing to participate in this program and they can only go so low with the rent to cover their expense.  

* Daniel Seidman, David Vigneault left the meeting.

4. Approval of Minutes

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 9-22-2010. All in favor.

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 10-6-2010. All in favor.

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 10-13-2010. In favor: Carlene, Tristan, Melinda. Abstained: Tom, Les, John (were not present at the meeting).

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 10-27-2010. In favor: Carlene, Tristan, Melinda, Tom, John. Abstained: Les (was not at the meeting).

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 11-10-2010. In favor: Carlene, Tristan, Melinda, Tom, Les. Abstained: John (was not at the meeting).

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 12-1-2010. All in favor.

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 12-08-2010. In favor: Carlene, Tristan, Les, Melinda, Tom. Abstained: John (was not at the meeting).

Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 12-15-2010. In favor: Carlene, Tristan, Les, Melinda, Tom. Abstained: John (was not at the meeting).

5. Election of Chair/Vice Chair

Les/Tom moved to elect Tristan Israel as Chair. No other nominations. So voted. All in favor.

Les/Tristan moved to elect Melinda Loberg as Vice Chair. No other nominations. So voted. All in favor.

Tristan and Melinda wanted to express thanks to Carlene for her role as Chair for the past year.

6. New Business
Appropriation for addition to the payroll software – Noreen Mavro Flanders
Noreen explained that their payroll software does not have the history element as their last one had. They used it all the time. This would be part of the human resources modular, the price for which is $7-8K, however we could get it for $2,195. It would also increase our maintenance for the software (updates etc.). Les asked if we could not cover it from savings due to change in personnel in the Treasurer’s Office. Noreen explained that in the Treasurer’s budget she reduced health insurance cost due to expected reduction, which did not happen and the cost will be higher then expected. In the Parking Clerk’s budget there is money available. We also have a wiring bill for adding one person to the accounting program and getting viewing rights to the program to the County Manager and the Executive Assistant. We could move $2K to the Treasurer’s budget to cover the additional modular and $2K to the Administration Building budget to cover the wiring. There is about $1200 left in the Treasurer’s budget to cover the rest of the cost and the increased maintenance of the software.

John/Tom moved to transfer from the Parking Clerk’s budget to the Treasurer’s budget $2K to help pay for the additional modular of the accounting software needed and to the Administrative Building budget $2K for wiring bill. Discussion: Melinda asked how long we will be able to use this program. Noreen said we used the last one for 15 years. West Tisbury and the school system also use this program as well as Plymouth County and other organizations in several states. Martina asked how much will the yearly maintenance be on the new modular. Noreen said $700. And how much do we pay for the maintenance of the program we already have. Noreen said about $5K. So voted. All in favor.

MV Commission - accounting
Carlene said that she and Noreen met with Marc London from MV Commission to discuss the possibility of the County taking over their accounting, which would save the MV Commission between 50-70% of what they spending right now by being able to eliminate a $70K position (about $100K with benefits). Noreen will meet with Jeff Wooden, their financial administrator to go over the job description and see what the County could take over and what are in house services that the MV Commission would have to assign to someone else. Melinda said that Jeff Wooden put out recently a study on how much certain positions are paid in the island towns, including longevity and steps. He did not include the County in the comparison. We have done this study last year when deciding to switch to 75-25 on health insurance. Noreen said that Marc London knew about our study as he was watching closely how the switch unfolds. Carlene asked Noreen to get together with Jeff and as soon as possible be ready to demonstrate how much we can readily take over. Noreen said that she had a feeling that they have someone in house interested to step into that position. Tristan said that hiring a new person for $100K would not make sense and would be hard to justify at this point. Tristan asked Tom to brief Jonathan Snyder as Chair of the All Island Fin Com about the situation.

7. Manager’s Report
Budget FY2012
Russell said he asked all department heads to level budget with the exception of the step increases. He reviewed the worksheets with Tom Hallahan and Jonathan Snyder. There are still questions, but he hopes to have the draft budget available for next meeting and discuss it at the meeting after that. Tom asked about Registry of Deeds budget. Noreen said that the Commissioners should approve and appropriate the full amount of the Registry’s budget, which was one of the requirements of the auditor’s Management Letter last year. However only the Maintenance of Effort amount affects the general fund. Russell said that we do not have control over the budget, we can only review it. Tom said that we should have time to review the budget at least twice before the joint meeting with the County Advisory Board at the end of February. Russell said that the Airport’s budget will not be available until March.

Russell said that we are in process of rating revised job descriptions and placing them on the new grade and step scale. We are using the Mass Municipal Manual for rating. The second step will be to review the Personnel Bylaws. Tristan asked if Mr. Hegarty’s complaints that he is not being paid what he should be are addressed as part of this process. Russell said that the Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) has been treated the same way as everyone else. The review of his job description did place him one and a half grades higher based on the responsibilities as described in the job description and Russell agreed that he deserves to be paid more. His complains as it pertains to the County Manager were brought to the Personnel Sub-committee of the County Commissioners. Melinda said that the Personnel Sub-committee did send him letter back with response. Melinda raised concern that there is no money in the budget this year to implement the raise and when his anniversary comes up next year will we be implementing it retroactively. Noreen questioned what would be the time when he became eligible for it. She believes he becomes eligible for it once the County Commissioners approve the change in step and grade. His anniversary in this fiscal year is in June. Tristan asked the Personnel Sub-committee for recommendation regarding this issue. Les pointed out that most of the IPM budget is now being assumed by the towns and it will not affect the County as much. Martina explained that for FY2012 the budget was only increased by 2.5%, which does not even cover his 4% step and that the request was already sent to the towns. Russell said he still hopes to implement the changes in FY2012. Carlene asked for copy of the letter. Noreen said that according to the Personnel Bylaws the decision of the County Manager is final. Melinda said that there is no process in place right now. Tristan suggested creating the Personnel Board as appeal from the Manager’s decision.

Dept. of Public Health Grant
Russell met with island health agents to see if they are interested in the grant for doing some of the services regionally – like testing pools, beaches or inspecting restaurants. The grant has two parts. First is a planning grant that would go to the County to figure out exactly what we can do and how. The second part would go to the towns to fund this activity for 5 years. The County would administer the grant and make it happen for 5-10% fee. We need 4 out of the 7 towns Chairman of the Board of Health and the County to sign off on this to be able to get the planning grant ($15-20K).

*Noreen Mavro Flanders left the meeting. Chuck Cotnoir joined the meeting.

Tristan asked who would manage this person. Russell said he would like to have a Board comprised of the Health Agents from the towns to oversee the work of the person hired as contractor. The County could provide working space if needed. Melinda said that the Board of Health already did loosely regionalize some efforts and this grant would help them to provide a structure and do it more easily. Russell said that instead of having inter-municipal agreements with one town being the lead agency, the County can provide the regional structure. Russell would write the planning grant and then go to the agents and ask them what functions they want to plan for. The letter of interest must be in by January 24th, the planning grant application must be in by February 28th. After today’s meeting of the all island board of health agents they are all going back to their boards asking them to do it.

The appointments were advertised in the paper, the deadline is February 4th. Martina said she e-mailed everyone to see if they are interested to be re-appointed and majority did already responded that they would. Peter Hefler does not want to be re-appointed to the Cape Light Compact and to the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative. Tristan suggested Peter Cabana, who is Tisbury’s representative and is very knowledgeable. Martina asked if the Commissioners want to do appointments the first week in February for all re-appointments that had no other person interested. They agreed. Tristan asked about the Eastville Beach Committee. Martina said that to her knowledge that was an ad hoc group and not an annual appointment. Other commissioners agreed to keep it that way.

Veterans’ services on the Island
Russell informed the Commissioners on the progress of negotiations of the Veterans’ Administration (VA) with the MV Hospital. They will be contracting with the doctors directly for primary care. The MV Hospital contracts for the lab and x-ray services and the VA is working on contracts with these third parties to have sub-contracts in place.

Windows for the Courthouse
Russell received the specifications back from the architect. He sent the specifications to Dept. of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) and to Attorney General’s Office to make sure that we are in compliance with the procurement laws because we are putting restrictions on who can bid to make sure that the bidders have experience in historic building renovations. There are only few people on the island who have the experience and a shop to do this locally. Carlene asked when the windows and trim will be done. Russell said he expects this to be done this spring. The bids will be in by the end of February. Then there will be meeting with the architect. Then the contractor will go with their mock up window before the Edgartown Historic Commission and show them what they will build. Tristan questioned if this all can happen before the summer and asked by the next meeting for a detailed and realistic timeline of the project. Carlene asked what are we planning to do about the peeling paint and a new electrical system and where do we get money to do it. Carlene suggested tarp money and Russell was asked to research any avenue possible to look for the money. She suggested that if the County can not responsibly manage it we should turn it over to the Preservation Trust. Tristan suggested for couple of the Commissioners to meet with the County Manager to develop a plan for maintenance of the buildings.

IPM and Appointment to the Pilgrim RC & D Area Council
Tristan asked if we appointed T.J. to the Pilgrim RC & D. Carlene said that we did put it on hold until we see if the budget can tolerate it and it was not revisited. She asked what the benefit of the program is to the island. John said that this program started as a Conservation District to help agriculture and we always appointed someone. It did not require travel back than. Tristan asked what the cost is. Martina said that it cost $400 for membership, travel expense to go to the meetings and about 10-12 days of time that T.J. is paid from the IPM budget while away at the meetings. Tristan asked for updated numbers and to have discussion about it at one of the next meetings. Martina pointed out that T.J. kept going to the meetings and was elected as Director of the Pilgrim RC&D Area Council. John said that as long as we don’t appoint anyone else or abolish the job, he is still allowed to go to the meetings. Tristan asked if the recommendations of the committee that reviewed the IPM program were implemented. Specifically that T.J. needs to manage his time to get the job done within the regular 40 hour week. Russell said yes and if he works extra he can take it as compensatory time, but not as overtime at one and half the time. Melinda said that from the Minutes it looks like we adopted part of the recommendations of the committee but some were still left to be adopted. Tristan asked Russell to look into it and bring it up at the next meeting. Melinda and Tristan agreed that they would have no problem with T.J. going to the meetings if he can do all work that needs to be done within the 40 hour week and bring in the same revenue.

8. Old Business
Carlene asked who does the maintenance of the split rail fence on the beach side and picks up off garbage on the Sylvia State Beach. Russell said that the Barrier Beach Task Force manages the beach. He will go and look at the situation there.

Les asked if the running project list could be reinstated and be included in the packets to give the Commissioners better idea of what projects we are working on and was has already been done. All agreed.
Carlene asked who will meet with the Animal Shelter Board representatives as agreed after their presentation in December. Tristan appointed Carlene and Melinda to do it.
John/Les moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:45 p.m. All in favor.

Respectfully Submitted by:

JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts

Documents presented at the meeting and part of the official records:

  • Agenda
  • Letter from Town of Tisbury requesting appointment of their representative to the DCRHA
  • DCRHA presentation on rental assistance and 50/50 formula funding
  • Letter of resignation as Assoc. Commissioner for Public Health from Mr. Knowles
  • Report for the first two months of use & royalties of the Coast2Coast Rx Card
  • Cape Light Compact November 2010 report
  • SSA Memorandums for meetings on December 21st and December 28th
  • Letter from T.J. Hegarty asking for re-appointment as Delegate to the Pilgrim RC & D Area Council.

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