Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Aquinnah Town Hall
Commissioner Present: Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg, Les Leland, Lenny Jason, Tom Hallahan.
Not Present: Carlene Gatting, John Alley
County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant.
*Others: Marc Hanover – SSA representative, Jim Newman & Beverly Wright – Aquinnah Selectmen, Joanie Ames – MVTV.
Meeting was called to order at 5:00 PM
Mr. Newman thanked the County Commissioners for coming to Aquinnah.
Les/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 9-14-2011 as presented. So voted. All in favor.
2. Steamship Authority (SSA) updates – Marc Hanover
The SSA was awarded a Martha from the Chamber of Commerce for good customer service. The SSA is working on the next budget - $84.5M, projecting 4% increase in expenses, other then labor it is due to the health insurance. There will be no rate increase and if there needs to be one it will be on the Nantucket side. Due to hurricane Irene there is estimate of $600K loss in revenue. They moved 1800 cars per day for 3 days and everyone who wanted to get off got off. The “Martha’s Vineyard” ferry is going to the dry dock to get air conditioning. Nantucket ferry “Eagle” is going for mid-life refurbishment ($8M). The SSA received over $1M in licensing fees for the Island Home plans (3 plans - $360K each as they were desperate in Washington State). There is proposal from others to buy it for less – about $100K each plan. SSA is testing a new schedule
with Governor leaving at 5:45am from Woods Hole and 6:45am from Vineyard Haven. This way more trucks can get off earlier. SSA is working with the Town of Tisbury on the pump out to their waste water facility. The $1.5M federal grant for retrofitting was awarded but it is blocked by the State for now. SSA put out an RFP for a new office on the island. Now the SSA is negotiating with the Airport about moving into the airport terminal. It is looking good. It would be cheaper than at the current location plus some expenses would not be there (like plowing etc.) In the last tree years the walk ins decreased from 40K to 17K per year. Seastreek fast ferry from New York is up 12% this year even with the new commercial airlines coming from NY. There will be more marketing done by SSA in Boston papers and such. Also there will be informational “how to” videos available on their website regarding where to park before getting on the boat etc. SSA purchased the Falmouth Arena and will be
expanding the Palmer Ave lot by next spring by 300 cars. Once busses move to a different location there will be additional 100 spaces there. Margot Datz will be painting a mural in Oak Bluffs terminal. Tristan said that Tisbury is installing a kiosk at the Park & Ride. The parking will be still free for a week. If people want to stay longer they need to purchase a pass for that. Tom asked if the SSA lease for the land at the Airport Business Park can be signed over to a different entity at a current rate. County would be interested to take the lease over and keep it for a public use. Marc said he will look into it. Originally SSA was planning to use it to build the SSA office there and use it as a staging area but this last hurricane showed that there is no need for it. If needed they can stage at the high school.
Lenny/Les moved to approve the draft letter to SSA expressing the County’s interest to take the lease over. So voted. All in favor.
Tom and Lenny will go to the Airport Commission’s Land Use subcommittee meeting to talk about the possibilities of the use of the land.
3. Manager’s Report
FY 2013 budget process is starting. Tom said that the next step should be a joint meeting with the County Advisory Board (CAB) to develop the budget guidelines for next year and say what the priorities are. Lenny asked to receive the quarterly up-to-date reports and make sure the CAB gets it as well.
Open Meeting Law – Tristan said that after looking into it the law technically allows for bringing new subjects up at the meeting under “New Business”. Russell said that the intent is to discourage from deliberation and voting on topics that the public was not notified about. Tristan asked other commissioners to give a call to him as chair or to the County manager prior to meeting if they want to discuss any new topic.
Captain Smith’s painting was installed back in the Courtroom today with a presence of the Sheriff Michael A. McCormack and the Clerk of Courts Joe Sollitto. The MV Gazette is planning to do a story about it.
The economic development CGI video project is almost done.
VA update – Russell contacted Sen. Brown’s and Congressman Keating’s office as well as Jay Ferriter from MV Hospital to follow up. Tristan asked Russell to do it weekly until we have a response. Tom is trying to schedule a meeting with both of them for October 26th or November 9th. The Commissioners agreed that they would be flexible on the schedule should the regular Wednesday meeting not work.
4. Old Business
Melinda asked if we are planning to have an exit conference with the auditors and if the Commissioners could get an updated report for next meeting if any of the items on the Management Letter did get taken care off. Russell said he will find out.
Tristan asked for the Grant writer opportunity to be added back to the Old Business List. Alice Boyd is not available to do the next Community Block grant which puts several island town is a position of search for a new grant writer and the County could help. Lenny said that in the past Roger Wey did go to Washington to hand deliver this grant, however this year Oak Bluffs cut the funds for the trip and the County could help out by providing the travel money.
Russell said that he also sent letter to Congressman Keating regarding the social security not coming to the island anymore. He and Roger Wey agreed that an offer could be made to the Social Security Office in Falmouth if the travel expense is an issue that we could make the travel arrangements to bring the service back to the island.
The Federal Wind Energy Task Force with hold a meeting on wind development on October 5th at 5pm at the Howes House in West Tisbury.
The next county commissioners meeting will be on October 12th at 5pm back at the County Administration Building.
Melinda/Tom moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:45p.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:
- Letter to Marc Hanover (SSA) regarding the lease at the Airport
- Information regarding Open Meeting Law from Atty General’s website
- Information regarding Open Meeting Law from Kopelman and Page, P.C.
- E-mail from Marc London regarding the Federal Wind Energy Development meeting in West Tisbury on October 5th
- Old Business List
- Steamship Authority September 20th, 2011 meeting memo