Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA
Commissioner Present: Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg, Lenny Jason, John Alley, Carlene Gatting
Not present: Tom Hallahan, Les Leland
County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant, Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer. T.J. Hegarty – IPM Director.
*Others: Warren Dotty – Associate Commissioner for Fisheries, David Nash – Eastville Beach Committee, Marc Hanover – SSA representative, Remy Tumin of Vineyard Gazette
Meeting was called to order at 5:00 PM
1. Minutes Carlene had some comments she wanted to make and asked for the approval of the Minutes to be postponed until the following meeting.
2. MSPCA – Mr. Luke was unable to attend and rescheduled his presentation for the June 8th meeting.
3. The Steamship Authority (SSA) – Marc Hanover
Mr. Hanover informed the Commissioners about issues with funding the SSA Pension Fund (see document attached). The plan covers couple hundred people. The withdrawal liability was negotiated down to about $24million and it will be paid at a rate of $1M per year. The SSA office on the island will have to move to different location as the property at the Airport was sold. Lenny asked if SSA still own the land at the Airport Business Park. Marc said yes. The SSA will apply for a variance on their ramps as the ADA compliant ramps brought some issues. The reservations to the Vineyard increased 5% (Nantucket 10%). There will be a free mobile application available this spring with schedule and other useful information. The hedging of fuel price worked out well. The SSA has agreements with the port towns to do the sewage pump out (Tisbury will
do up to 5,000 gallon per day). Currently the boats are treating it on board before releasing. The Governor should be back in service soon.
4. MV/DC Fishermen’s Association – Warren Dotty
Warren thanked the County for support and informed them that the Association members met with our state representatives on issues coming up before the legislator (commercial stripe bass, lobster regulations). They also are actively participating in the discussion of placing the wind farms in surrounding waters. He passed around samples of letters written by the group as a response to current proposals and asking to exclude some blocks from development and include others instead. In cooperation with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) they secured a research grant for restoration of winter flounder in island waters. The analysis of biological environment is taking place since November of 2010. The following year they plan to partner with the Wampanoag Tribe to lease their hatchery to grow 50K of winter flounders and distribute it to the
favorable environment. This method is called stock enhancement. The second project they are working with the University on is a conch research project this summer. Melinda asked about the ground fishing fines. Warren said that these are regarding the federal fisheries, but most of our fishermen fish under the state licenses.
Carlene/Lenny moved to lease tribal hatchery at no monthly fee for 1 year with understanding that there will be a responsibility of some repairs that will be covered by the grant received by the UNH. So voted. All in favor.
Discussion: There will be a project director plus three other employees to be paid from the grant through the County for which we receive an administration fee. The Tribe is matching the grant funds with in-kind services. Melinda asked about plans for a future use of the hatchery. Warren hopes that once it proofs effective they will continue the operation. The hatchery operation will start next September and Warren will work with Russell and Noreen to work out the mechanics of it. He invited the Commissioners for the Fishermen’s Association Annual Dinner on Wednesday May 25th at the Home Port Restaurant in Menemsha and asked Commissioners to confirm their attendance.
5. Eastville Beach Committee – David Nash, Chairman
David introduced to the Commissioners the latest version of the Division of Marine Fisheries proposal of a Land Management Agreement regarding part of the Eastville Beach including the regulations and a map showing the affected area starting 5 feet behind the old piling and going to the jetty, the area by the bridge will not be affected (see attached). Tristan said that this part of the beach is not used by swimmers anyway. There are three property owners – Town of Oak Bluffs, Town of Tisbury and the County. They need approval from all three in order to move forward. The latest proposal includes firming up the road surface to go all the way to the jetty and creation of 8 parking spaces – paid by State. We need to contribute estimate of $18K, there are some CPC funds set aside but it is not enough. The towns would be required to maintain the
road. John asked if the regulations would be the same as for the boat ramp. Tristan said that most likely yes. Melinda asked if there is a plan to rehabilitate the old piling. David said no. There will be ADA ramp access. Lenny questioned why the towns could not do the work themselves and why the State needs to be involved. Tristan said that once we see the details of the Memorandum of Understanding we can back out if we don’t like it. Noreen asked if there will be a restriction on the parking area. Tristan said that according with the agreement it will be for fishing and boating access, but it will be hard to police it.
Carlene/Melinda moved to amend the agreement to address the Commissioners’ concerns before agreeing to it. Motion was suspended.
David said that the Oak Bluffs and Tisbury Selectmen already voted to agree to work with the State. The State would be responsible for major improvements in that area. Lenny quoted from the Agreement that it is condition on “pending (state) budget funding…” Discussion regarding particular requirements and condition of the agreement followed. Tristan asked all Commissioners to mark up the Agreement to address their concerns and postponed the discussion until the next meeting. Russell noted that the regulations for that area are not amendable, but the agreement is.
6. Pilgrim RC & D – T.J. Hegarty
T.J. informed the commissioners that the funding for the regional RC & D programs has been cut from the federal budget and therefore the regional RC &D will be dissolved. The money left in the budget will be distributed to the participating communities – on the Vineyard to the School Garden Program. The efforts to lobby for the funding for the FY2012 federal budget still continue.
7. Mosquito testing this summer – T.J. Hegarty
T.J. attended the State Reclamation Board’s meeting on May 10th and the arrangements for this summer are that he will be submitting the samples to the Cape Center on Tuesday morning. He will have to take the boat to Woods Hole to give it to their representative. T.J. is again this year organizing a seminar regarding various pest management issues. It will take place on June 10th and the licensees can receive continuing education credits for attending.
8. Wind – BOEM representation
The next BOEM meeting is in New Bedford and Tristan appointed Melinda to represent the County as he is representing Town of Tisbury already.
9. Steering Committee Report – Carlene Gatting
The Steering Committee was formed to review and respond to the DOR report. It met three times, reviewed county departments and at their last meeting voted to look into a separation of the Airport and establishing it in a similar way as the Steamship Authority. The Airport Manager can be present at the next commissioners’ meeting to answer specific questions. Lenny asked if the Airport Commission voted to do this. Carlene said that Sean will let them know. John said that he is an Airport Commissioner and he does not know about this. He said that Mass Port was very interested in the past to use the Airport for summer overflow. In the separation process the FAA would be the first to get involved and then Massachusetts, which could change the game. Melinda said that it was discussed at the meeting and there are lots of questions that would have
to be put to study. Tristan also raised questions how will the “new” Airport Commission be created.
Carlene pointed out that this would be a way how to preserve the Airport under local control. Noreen raised question regarding the fact that if the County stops using the land for aviation purpose it would go automatically to the State as the Commonwealth had the first pick, then the towns. Carlene deferred to Sean to answer questions regarding the financial advantages of doing this.
Carlene reported that prior to the Steering Committee meeting there was a County Advisory Board (CAB) meeting and its members were reluctant to approve the County budget for FY2012 as they had hard time justifying fulltime positions of County Manager and Executive Assistant. Carlene committed to bringing this up for discussion at the County Commission’s meeting. After that CAB approved the budget. Tristan asked the Personnel Committee and the Finance Committee to look into it. All agreed. Lenny thanked the CAB for recognizing that it is the Commission’s decision if they will have a full- or part-time County Manager. He also expressed concern that the Steering Committee is revising topics that two Charter Study Commissions studied, decided on recommendations and the voters voted on.
10. Personnel Committee Report (see on file) – Melinda Loberg
Melinda informed the Commissioners that the Personnel Committee met with Russell and they established goals for him for the next 6 months. The Committee also received a report regarding the review and changes of the job descriptions and the new assignment of grades and steps according to the job description evaluations. The FY2012 budget already includes these changes. The longevity also falls in to place at the 7th year of service. Russell will now move to establish the Personnel Board, which will undertake the changes to the Personnel Bylaws. The Committee will undertake a review of the job descriptions for the county manager and the executive assistant. The evaluation process of the County Manager is complete and the Committee recommended extending his employment for another 6 months, which period will be used to evaluate the
two administrative positions and changes needed.
Melinda/Lenny moved to extend the County Manager’s employment for another 6 months while undertaking the review. So voted. All in favor.
*Melinda left the meeting.
11. Manager’s Report
Courthouse – Russell is working with the contractors to schedule all the work on the window repairs and the installation of the gutters.
No dogs on the beach – We pay a person from Audubon Society to be on the beach every other day for the bird protections and she will also oversee that there are no dogs on the beach. Russell will ask the Barrier Beach Task Force if there will be any volunteers that would also help to enforce the rule. Carlene said that people are surprised of that rule even though there are signs there. She suggested making sure that there are “no dogs” signs at every entrance with the dates when it applies. Russell said that the signs were at every other entrance, but some were removed and he will replace these.
Veteran’s clinic – There is an update letter from Mr. Antanaccio (see on file). Both Rep. Madden and Sen. Wolf also received letters asking them for help in this matter.
Little Bridge dredging project is complete.
12. Old Business
Noreen said that at the last CAB meeting Diane Powers reported that the proposed legislation to increase the registry fees would bring the County about $90K in additional revenue (see material on file). Noreen also reported that we received a final approval from PERAC regarding the calculations how to pay off the Sheriff’s retiree unfunded liabilities (see letter on file).
John/Carlene moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:55 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:
- SSA – Information regarding the Pension Fund
- MV/DC Fishermen’s Association – two sample letters, Invitation to Fishermen’s Dinner
- Eastville Beach – Land Management Agreement, Dept. of Fish and Game Public Access Facilities Rules and Regulations, Map
- Pilgrim RC & D – 2010 Annual Report and Treasurer’s Report
- Personnel Committee Report
- E-mail from Mr. Antonaccio
- Old Business List
- Excerpt from the County Advisory Board’s draft Minutes 5-11-2011
- Letter with Amortization Schedule for Dukes County Sheriff’s retired employee unfunded pension liability, E – mail from Noreen regarding the same
- SSA Memorandum of a meeting on 5-12-2011
- Cape Light Compact March report
- Letter from Associate Commissioner for Elder Affairs
- Letter form Mass DOT regarding fencing on second bridge
- E-mail from Steve Myrick (MV Times) with public record request