Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA
Commissioner Present: Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg, Carlene Gatting, Tom Hallahan.
Not Present: John Alley, Lenny Jason, Les Leland
County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant, Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer, Carol Grant – Parking Clerk, Jo Ann Murphy – Veterans Agent, T.J. Hegarty – IPM Director, Sean Flynn – Airport Manager, Chuck Cotnoir – Emergency Director, Warren Doty – Assoc. Commissioner for Fisheries
Others: Remy Tumin – MV Gazette, Joanie Ames – MVTV.
Meeting was called to order at 5:00 PM
Carlene/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 10-12-2011 as presented. So voted. In favor: Tristan, Melinda, Carlene. Abstained: Tom.
2. Dukes County/Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen Association – Warren Doty
Warren reported that the Winter Flounder Restoration Project, which is a joint project with the University of New Hampshire (UNH), who received a $300K grant for this project. The first year was to collect and analyze data at four locations in Lagoon Pond and Menemsha Pond and take samples. The Association had a summer intern Shelley Edmundson, who was paid a $3,000 stipend by Vineyard Vision Fellowship through the County. Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Chilmark and the Tribe provided in kind services by their staff. John Armstrong provided the boat in Menemsha Pond. The second phase will start this winter. The total budget is $107,700 in grant funds and $89,086 in matching funds, mostly in kind (see attached). The Association is planning to lease the tribal hatchery, which will need to be retrofitted for the project. The Tribe’s matching
contribution is $25,900 as they are only leasing the hatchery to us for $100 for the entire year while the value is about $2000 per month. It would involve hiring several seasonal employees by the County to work at the hatchery (March – September).
Tom/Melinda moved to allow the County to hire the needed seasonal employees. Discussion: Noreen said that if the employees are for less than 6 months they would be temporary and are not eligible for benefits. The County would use its own funds to pay for the needed expenses and then bill the UNH to get reimbursed. So voted. All in favor.
Tom/Carlene moved to send a thank-you letter to the Tribe, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven and Chilmark for their contributions (to be ready for commissioners’ signature at the next meeting). All in favor.
Carlene/Melinda moved to allow the Fishermen’s Association to invoice the County to be reimbursed for expenses that were needed and for Noreen to invoice UNH to reimburse the County as a way to better manage the cash flow. All in favor.
Warren said that the fish would be released into the ponds by next September. There is a need for a follow up grant to monitor the success of the project for the next 3-4 years. The Fishermen’s Association is not good at writing grants and is looking for help. Tristan said that the County is looking into creating a grant writer’s position with the County which might help.
3. Manager’s Report
Consent for Anderson & Kreiger, LLP – Sean Flynn explained what the litigation is about ($24K claim of sub-contractor against contractor for work done on property that the Airport is managing and the County is a deed holder) and that the law office is asking for the County to allow them to represent AT&T (the lease holder) and not the County and Airport in this matter (see e-mail attached). The contractor was hired by a sub-lessee and AT&T does not have a contractual relationship with the plaintiff. The law office represents the Airport in another matter which is not related. This does not create a conflict of interest situation at this point but it might in the future should the Airport have a claim against AT&T for breach of their lease due to the fact that a lien was put on the property. McCarron, Murphy &
Vukota would represent the Airport (and the County) in this matter and the Airport will pay the legal fees.
Melinda/Tom moved to release Anderson & Kreiger, LLP in this matter from the conflict by representing the County in a different matter and allow them in this case to represent only AT&T and not the Airport and the County. So voted. All in favor.
*Sean Flynn left the meeting at 5:40pm.
4. Budget Discussions
Integrated Pest Management Program – Noreen presented a spreadsheet (see attached) showing that over the past four years the number used for calculation of the town warrant articles and the actual budget differ. In FY2011 the County ended up paying 36.5% of the cost of the IPM program instead of 30%. The FY2012 number used for calculations and the approved budget differ by $7K and when Oak Bluffs voted out of the program the gap grew by another $5,700 leaving the County to pay 40% of the cost of the program instead of agreed 20%. After the amendment of the budget by the Advisory Board in June to cover the Oak Bluffs share by increasing projected revenue by $2,500 and taking the rest from the surplus. If the commissioners and the CAB tonight agree to take the remaining $3,295 out of the mosquito fund as T.J. and Russell are
proposing the County would still pay 32.37%. Russell said that the difference in budgets is due to the fact that the towns asked the County to level fund and he was under the impression that town fin coms will not support anything more then a 2.5% increase over the prior year. He would like to cover the shortfall this year of $3,295 by transferring the money from the Mosquito Fund, which is a separate fund outside of the budget where the Boards of Health contributed to have the mosquito testing done this summer. The mosquito program was integrated into T.J.’s daily IPM activities and he was paid for it from the IPM budget. Noreen agreed that the transfer would be justified. T.J. said that he could not logistically have done the work during regular work week and most of the work was done over the weekend and he incurred about 110 hours of comp time because of that. Carlene asked for accounting of the hours spent on the mosquito program and the cost of it instead of just
transferring amount needed to balance the budget. Jeff said that if the money is left over in the Mosquito Fund it should be given back to the Boards of Health to fund this program next year.
5. Joint meeting with the County Advisory Board (CAB) – budget discussions
CAB meeting was called to order at 6pm.
Present: Art Smadbeck (Edgartown – 36.54%), Walter Vail (Oak Bluffs -14.84%), Jeff Kristal (Tisbury – 14.5%), Skipper Manter (West Tisbury – 13.11%)
The IPM FY2012 budget discussion continued
Tom did not like the idea to transfer the money from the Mosquito Fund at this point and would like to move it from the unreserved fund balance instead. Melinda asked why the funds in the Mosquito Fund have not been spent. T.J. said that it can not be spent unless the transfer is voted by the CAB. Tristan said that he would like to combine the two in the budget for next year. Jeff said that Oak Bluffs participates in the mosquito program but not in the IPM program and asked how this will be reflected. Skipper said that these are two separate functions and the cost of each should be tracked separately. Martina said that T.J. did the work on the mosquito program and was paid for it from the IPM program and if no money is transferred it would mean that towns who participated in the IPM program would pay for the mosquito program for everybody
who participated in the mosquito program.
Tom/Carlene moved recommend to the CAB to transfer $3,295 from the unreserved fund balance to cover the shortfall. So voted. All in favor.
Skipper asked what the $1000 increase in the budget in FY2012 is for. Noreen said that it is a COLA that was voted, but she did not receive a budget that would reflect the increase. Skipper would like to see a reduction in the budget due to the fact that the IPM program does not service Oak Bluffs this year. T.J. said that he is still servicing Oak Bluffs private accounts at a commercial rate (example: $125 instead of $55, commercial $250 instead of $110), but does not service the public buildings. Art asked if the increase of the projected revenue of $2,500 is due to the increased pricing for Oak Bluffs residents. T.J. said no, it comes from increased use of the program throughout the island. Noreen said that if the time spent on mosquito program is allocated separately there will be a reduction in the IPM budget expense. Skipper would like
to see a reduction due to Oak Bluffs voting out as well. T.J. said that his workload in the summer actually increased and he could use another person during the summer months. He collected extra 20% revenue from the program 4 months into the FY. Melinda asked what the true cost of the program is. Tristan said that having this program subsidized by the towns makes it available for private accounts at a reduced rate. Noreen said that the increased revenue offsets the increased budget. Russell said that if one town does not vote it, it does not mean that cost for other towns goes down, nor does it increase. The sub-committee of the county commissioners instructed T.J. to do the mosquito program within his normal work hours as part of the IPM program, he did so and was paid from the IPM budget and now the money for the mosquito program should be transferred to IPM to offset that expense. Tom said that the commissioners need to do a due diligence regarding the IPM and mosquito
programs, allocate the hours and the cost. He would meet with the county Fin Com to address this. Tristan asked Russell to talk to the Oak Bluffs’ new town administrator to find out if Oak Bluffs is planning to participate in the IPM program in FY2013.
Skipper/Walter moved to transfer $3,295 from the unreserved fund balance to the budget to cover the shortfall and replenish the surplus back. So voted. Nay – West Tisbury 13.11%, Tisbury 14.5%, Oak Bluffs14.84% - total 42.45% – Motion does not carry.
Tristan asked for Tom, Russell, T.J. and Noreen to meet and look into the cost allocations between IPM and mosquito program and the fact that one town does not participate in the IPM program and report back at the next meeting. Noreen said that T.J. and Russell need to come up with the allocation split. She will help with the calculations once the allocations are figured out.
Tristan asked if the CAB had any suggestions for FY2013 budget. Melinda explained that earlier Noreen presented an IPM program spreadsheet showing the difference in the budgets presented to towns for the warrant articles and the actual budget and the end of each year cost to the County which is getting higher and higher over what was agreed due to the request for level funding. Jeff said that when Tisbury sent out a request for level funding it was intended for the town budget only and not for the warrant articles. Art and Skipper agreed that they would use whatever number the County sends to be put on the warrant article. They don’t want to be presented with numbers that are not true. Once the towns pay 100% of the cost of the program, there should not be any residuum paid by the County. Russell said that the town fin coms sent
letters instructing the county to level fund otherwise they would not support the warrant articles and that is why he made the decision to submit the lower numbers. CAB said that this is not what they agreed on and for next year would like to see the accurate numbers used for the calculation. Jeff asked if the mosquito program was done by the County prior to the Boards of Health (BOH) funding it. T.J. said no. Jeff asked on what basis were the BOH assessed. T.J. said that he put his IPM budget together and then he presented the cost of the mosquito program to the BOH included paying for 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, which came out to about $700 per town divided equally to be paid by each town. Tristan asked to have this sorted out by the next meeting.
Russell said that last year there was $5K transferred into the budget to help with fighting homelessness. Only $2,303 was spent (see attached spreadsheet). There was no money put into the FY2012 budget and he would like to transfer the remained of $2,697 to be reconstituted and transferred into the FY2012 budget. Tom said that he would like to see a formal request before any money is transferred out of the unreserved fund balance.
Tom/Carlene moved to receive a formal budget with justification for the requested funds from Connie Teixeira, the Associate Commissioner for Homelessness. Discussion: Skipper asked if there is any immediate need. Noreen said that there has been a situation already when Connie needed the money for a hotel and had to pay it out of her pocket because there are no funds currently allocated in the budget for this kind of expense. It could be put in a separate fund where the money would stay to be used and not disappear at the end of the fiscal year. So voted. All in favor.
Tom/Carlene moved to transfer $1,000 from the unreserved fund balance to the Associate Commissioners’ budget line for Connie to cover her out of pocket expenses so far and for the immediate need for homelessness. All in favor.
Skipper/Walter moved to transfer $1,000 from the unreserved fund balance to the Associate Commissioners’ budget line for Connie to be used to cover her out of pocket expense so far and for the immediate need for homelessness. All in favor.
Walter asked if there are any other outstanding expenses that will be affecting the $1000. Russell said that we don’t know about any at this time. Skipper said that the Parking Clerk seams to be a non-mandated program and he would like to have a discussion about. Tristan said that the Commissioners have it next on the Agenda and the CAB is welcome to stay for that discussion.
Skipper/Art moved to adjourn the CAB meeting at 7pm. All in favor.
Tristan informed all that the All island selectmen’s meeting was postponed until the first week in December to be held in West Tisbury.
6. Parking Clerk report – Carol Grant
Carol reported to the commissioners regarding the inaccuracies in the newspaper article printed in the last MV Times. She said that the parking clerk is one of the main regional county services that is in place for 30 years. The cost to the towns remained the same for all these years at 15% from the collected revenue. About a year and half ago after problems with Plymouth County all towns agreed to buy a software to process tickets in house for $25K. The in-house processing is going well and was implemented at no additional cost to the towns. The deficit in the budget is due to the purchase of the software (we are 1.5year into a 3 year contract). In 2010 she reported on the option of purchasing and using the hand held devices and the police chiefs rejected it as too expensive. In 2010 the County Manager implemented a new county protocol and
forms for handling requests under the Freedom of Information Act. She applied this protocol when approached with such a request by the Times and she complied according to the protocol and the law. Carlene said that the Steering Committee had discussion regarding the Parking Clerk function earlier that day and it seamed that the police will determine if they want to start using the hand-held units and seemed a parking clerk will be needed in the future or not. Tom said that the County should inform the towns of all the capabilities of the software we have and try to be competitive. Noreen said that Carol has the analyses and comparison of the off-island vendor’s proposal to what the County can do and she will present it to the police chiefs at their November 1st meeting (10am). The main difference is that the County can do it regionally for all the towns and people can pay tickets from different towns all in one place and their registration can get cleared with the
Registry of Motor Vehicles right then. Carol said that they do not offer in-person on island services. People come here every day to pay parking tickets and resolve related issues. The vendor proposing the hand-helds is the same one that the County had to discontinue service with back in 2000 due to problems.
*Remy Tumin left the meeting.
Russell said that the Parking Clerk is appointed by the selectmen of each town. The people do not vote in or out of the service. Carol reported that in about a week people will be able to pay tickets on-line as well. Noreen added that the proposal is requiring the towns to write at least 3,000 tickets per year and will penalize them for any shortage, which will leave the smaller towns out of this option. Melinda suggested making the corrections to the newspaper article on the county website.
Letter from the Social Security Services explaining reasons why they are not coming to the island on regular bases anymore (see attached) to be discussed at the next meeting.
The next meeting is a mandatory meeting scheduled for November 16th at 5pm at the County Administration Building. Tristan asked for the Eastville Beach Committee to be put on the agenda to report.
Carlene/Melinda moved to adjourn the meeting at 7.30p.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:
- SEA grant budget form
- E-mail re Anderson & Kreiger LLP release
- IPM budget history spreadsheet
- Homeless – expense sheet for FY2011
- Old business list
- Letter from Social Security
- SSA memo from their October 18th meeting
- IPM program income and open invoice report