Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA
Commissioner Present: Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg, Tom Hallahan, Lenny Jason, John Alley, Les Leland, Carlene Gatting
County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant, Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer.
*Others: Sheriff Michael McCormack, Woody Williams, Phyllis Williams, from MVTV
Meeting was called to order at 5:00 PM
Tom/Melinda moved to approve Minutes of 2-2-11. In favor: Carlene, Tristan, Melinda, Tom. Abstained: Les, Lenny.
Tom/Melinda moved to approve Minutes of 2-9-11. In favor: Tristan, Melinda, Les, Tom, Lenny. Abstained: Carlene.
Tom/Les moved to approve Minutes of 2-23-11. In favor: Tristan, Tom, Lenny, Les. Abstained: Melinda, Carlene.
Tom/Melinda moved to approve Minutes of 3-9-11. In favor: Melinda, Tristan, Tom, Lenny, Les. Abstained: Carlene.
2. Chairman appointments
Tristan/Carlene moved to appoint Warren Doty as Associate Commissioner for Fisheries. All in favor.
Tristan/John moved to appoint Anson Krickl as Associate Commissioner for Affairs Concerning Handicapped Persons. All in favor.
3. Enforcement of no dogs on the beach in the summer
Woody Williams would like the Commissioners to enforce the rule of no dogs on the State Beach starting April 1st to October 31st. People ignore the rule and rip the signs off. This would be the third summer he is asking for enforcement. There are public safety issues, wildlife protection and other reasons for that rule. Carlene said that the Barrier Beach Task Force (BBTF) is strongly supporting the no dogs on the beach rule – especially during the nesting period. The Bylaws say the rules are being enforced by the Dukes County Sheriff’s Department. Russell said that both towns approved the rules; however Edgartown informed him that they have no desire to enforce it. Technically it is a state park and the one person entitled to enforce rules would be John Varkonda, who runs the State Forest. The grant money from
the State is for erosion control.
The Sheriff volunteered to do it in the past. Sheriff said he does send out a bike patrol that is ticketing the cars parked illegally on sand dunes. If the County wants him to enforce other rules he is willing to offer his services if the County provides him with resources (money to hire person to do it). Sheriff McCormack stated that the County Commissioners have a right to appoint County Police, which would have authority on County property only. It could be volunteers or paid positions. The Sheriff would run background check on any proposed applicants.
There are signs on the Edgartown part of the beach at bend of the road. Phyllis Williams asked about a metal sign listing all the beach rules being posted at the State Beach. Tristan asked Russell to write letter to Edgartown to ask for some mutual agreement on this issue and to see if the BBTF would have volunteers interested in being deputized to enforce the rules and come up with some plan of action. Russell said that we could appoint the person that is there to keep an eye on the birds. Tom said there are inconsistencies between rules on State Beach and the other two beaches that the County owns and proposed ad hoc committee to take out the inconsistencies.
Woody pointed out that in the rules there is a $3,000 fine for littering under the public safety section (MGL 270 Section 16) and a $50 fine for any other infraction of the rules. The public safety sections also list “Behavior that endangers the public, causes a nuisance or harasses wildlife is prohibited.” Tristan appointed Carlene and Tom to go over the regulations and report back.
4. Sheriff’s retiree’s unfunded retirement liability – Noreen Mavro Flanders
The liability should be paid from the General Fund Sheriff’s Maintenance of Effort, the amount each year is $501,702. The unfunded liability after the study is $1,035,574 as of 12/31/2009. If paid at current rate, it would be paid off within 2 years. There is an option to spread the payment (most likely no more than over 5 years), no legislation would be required. The towns are looking at the reduction of the assessment as soon as the unfunded liability is paid off, however the final bill does not say it. The Sheriff stated that the decision either way has no effect on the Sheriff’s Department. The Commissioners will consider how it will affect the county budget not having the 2.5% increase on the $501kThe Commissioners agreed that they support the early payoff and not to pursue the funding schedule. They agreed to have the County
Advisory Board make the final decision at the joint meeting on April 27th.
Noreen gave the Commissioners quarterly reports and a list of funds with balances for each.
5. House Bill 36
Noreen had a meeting as Chair of the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group (CCMHG) with all the other joint purchase groups (JPG) in Massachusetts regarding House Bill 36 which is in the Governor’s budget. In his budget, Governor Patrick is trying to move municipal employees to the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) if they do not change their health benefits to mirror the State’s by July 1st. The Governor says that this will save municipalities money in FY2012. The FY2012 municipal budgets are in most cases set already. The JPGs are asking to put it out to study and to be able to play by the same rules as the GIC, meaning they could impact bargain any changes with the unions instead of bargaining for decision. The CCMHG has 100 unions and could not bargain with all for the changes before June 30th. The package that
CCMHG is offering includes more choices, wellness program and other benefits the GIC does not have. Noreen asked Senator Wolf to request to put the bill out to study and she sent a letter to Rep. Madden as well. It would be very hard to enroll everyone by June 30th.
6. House Bill 1304 (Rep. Madden is a co-sponsor)
This bill proposed an increase of all registry user fees by $10 and the revenue would go to the County and in abolished Counties it would go to the Commonwealth ($9.6M). The last time Registry fees were increased to benefit the County was in 1981.
7. Manager’s Report
RFP for IT services – It was suggested by one town that we should put out an RFP for IT services jointly with other municipalities. There are two companies on the island that could handle it. Tristan said that Tisbury and Oak Bluffs are working together on the same issue. Tom asked for more information about this at the next meeting.
FY2012 Budget – The Public Hearing has been advertised for April 27th at 5 p.m. at the Vineyard Transit Authority Building. Both County Commissioners and the County Advisory Board pre-approved the budget.
Mosquito testing – Mr. Hegarty arranged for the state’s testing to be done this summer.
Animal Shelter – the board secured a pro bono legal service to form a 501.c.3 non-profit. They are currently working on the bylaws and appointment of officers. Once it organization is created they will be ready to receive the property.
Veteran’s Services – A letter from Mr. Antonaccio from VA in Providence is included in the packets. The contracts for primary care, radiology and lab are 90% complete. Once complete in Providence it will go to Washington for review. The contract should be in place by the end of the summer. Woody Williams thanked Noreen and Carlene for their involvement. Tristan asked Carlene to follow up. Melinda suggested finding out what would be the timeframe of the new agreements. Russell said that any public review we might accomplish would be through Partners in Boston.
Courthouse windows repair – contract ready to sign and work will start May 15th and continue for 12 weeks. We have Historic Commission approval. It will be done from the inside, a couple of windows at the time. No scaffolding.
Courthouse gutters – We need to do a mock up before we get a final approval from the Historic Commission. We will obtain a lift.
Carlene asked about funding for future projects. Noreen said we received $150K for the roof two years ago. Russell added we received additional $70K later. He can ask DCAM for more money and his priority will be the brickwork in one spot which is a structural issue, not the electrical system.
We disposed off some old computer parts.
NACO video project – the 1 minute shots will be installed on the County website to promote each town on Martha’s Vineyard.
Dept. of Health Grant - for regional effort of the Boards of Health was not awarded. Melinda asked if there are other resources we could use to help them accomplish what they were intending to with this grant.
Tribal project for pollution control – adjacent to cranberry bogs in Aquinnah will start this month. Some of the tanks will be on county land.
8. Old Business List – Noreen said that she was never asked to prepare a reserve policy (date assigned 7/14/2010), if it was assigned it would be well done by now and asked for her name to be taken off. To prepare a policy is the job of the county commissioners.
The next meeting at the Vineyard Transit Authority at 5pm will be a public hearing, preceded by a meeting of the Steering Committee at 3pm.
John/Carlene moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:05 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:
- 3rd quarter FY2011 Report
- Fund Balance Report
- E-mail from Mr. Antonaccio
- Progress and Intentions for the Dukes County Courthouse
- Old Business List