The County of Dukes County
DCC Minutes 09/26/2012

Dukes County Commission

Minutes

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
5 p.m.
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA


Present:
County Commissioners: Chair Melinda Loberg, Tristan Israel, Tom Hallahan, Beth Toomey.

County Staff: Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer, Martina Thornton – County Manager, Chuck Cotnoir – County Emergency Management Director

Others: Leon Brethwaite, Richard Bienvenue from Malloy, Lynch, Bienvenue, LLP (auditors), Joanie Ames – MVTV, Katie Ruppel – MV Gazette. Vineyard Power Coop – Richard Andre, Eric Peckar, Richard Toole

The meeting was called to order at 5:00PM.

  • FY2011 Audit – Richard Bienvenue (auditor)
Mr. Bienvenue stated that all financial documents are presented in Basic Financial Statement and that the auditors are giving a qualified opinion in the Independent Auditors’ Report that there are no instances of non-compliance with the laws and regulations. They also did an internal controls test and found no material weaknesses in the controls. He then went over the particular findings in the Basic Financial Statement: Page 1 (accrual basis) the unrestricted net assets are negative $44,939 on the general county side and negative $666,174 for the Airport. This is the debt related to the liabilities including the compensated absences and other post-employment benefits. So far there have been no attempts to fund these liabilities. The depreciation of assets also contributes to the net deficit. Page 3 (cash basis) the total fund balance is $445,986 (cash on hand), which includes dedicated funds: $170,848 Registry of Deeds. $20,409 Deeds Excise and $118,000 Animal Shelter. Page 28 shows the budget performance and that $71,573 went to the unreserved fund balance at the end of the year. Noreen said that it shows that the final budget was a negative $3,665 due to the fact that it was agreed to use $5K from the unreserved fund balance for the homelessness prevention. Page 6 – Airport – shows $32M net assets on the books. Page 7 – under operating expenses it shows depreciation of $1.3M per year. Page 25 – OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) detailed funding chart shows that the annual increase of these liabilities is about $232K for the government side and $348K for the Airport, it is funded only on “as you go” bases and therefore there is a net increase of the liability of $116K for the County and $240K for the Airport in FY2012. This includes already retired employees we promised benefits to as well as active employees that will eventually retire. This does not include the Sheriff’s retirees anymore. The auditor suggested starting to fund the OPEB and take advantage of the Dukes County Pooled OPEB Trust. If the County does not start funding it the County’s bond rating will suffer. The total OPEB liability only is about $7M between the County and the Airport. This does not include retirement. One way to address it is to reduce health care cost, the other is to provide funding for it and reinvest them to receive additional income to offset the expense. Page 33 – shows Airport report by funds. Tom asked about the Airport and Registry funds being under their own custody in connection with item 3. from the Management Letter. The auditor said this could be a potential weakness in the internal controls. Noreen said that is how other Registries of Deeds operate in Massachusetts. The Register sends statements to the Treasurer and she reconciles it.  The auditor said that we also need to evaluate the procedures of recording grant transactions timely and accurately and that the Airport’s transactions are not being reconciled by the County at the time when they occur. If the reconciliations are not completed in a timely manner, he is required to report that to the DCC. The Auditor said the cash is in the custody of the County Treasurer. Tom questioned the Risk Management process (Page 26). Martina said we will look for guidance from the auditor to get these procedures in place.

Management Letter: The Auditor said the County needs better procedures for the risk assessment process; flow charting out accounts payable information into the future. Melinda thanked Mr. Bienvenue and Noreen for coming and doing the presentation.

2. Fuel Bid -  Noreen reported that the Fuel Bid was published today at the Central Register and will be also published in the local newspaper this and next week. The deadline for bids is October 12th and the award date is October 17th.

3. Vineyard Power – Richard Andre
Vineyard Power (VP) is an electric cooperative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with 1260 members. Their main focus is an offshore wind project and solar projects on the Island. So far, they developed four projects for total of $3.5M (i.e. solar canopy by Croning’s, solar on Aquinnah’s land fill). They presented proposal of developing solar project on 4 acres of the land in the airport business park. It could potentially be a 700kW system which would generate 900KWh per year, which amounts to about $150K worth of electricity. The cost to build it would be about $4M, which would include clearing the lot, mounting, construction, connection to NSTAR grid. The County could choose who the electricity would go to (County buildings, Airport, etc.). There are several contract options including a long-term lease (25-30 years) to VP to develop the land and a Power Purchase Agreement (up to 20 years). These would be governed by MGL Ch.40 s.3 – Public entities disposal of land, Ch. 25A s.11 C & I – Purchasing of Power, Ch.30B – Uniform Procurement Act (which excludes power purchases). The County could be compensated at an annual rent or lease the land to VP for $1 and contract for discounted purchase price for electricity, or combination of both. The lease payments could be deferred to a special account that would be used later to purchase the system from the developer under conditions as specific in the contract at the depreciated value ($600-700K in 10 years). The system warranty is 20-25 years by the manufacturer to run for at least 25% of the capacity therefore the economic net value of the system would be higher ($2.5M).  The maintenance is about $5-10K per year. Richard explained why it is critical for the financing of the project to use a private developer. (Municipalities cannot take advantage of the investment tax credits. These credits will expire by 2016. There is also the production tax credit based on KWh the system produces.) The construction and the system itself would be insured. Richard Toole, the Oak Bluffs representative to the Cape Light Compact and Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) spoke in favor of the project and to do it with VP instead of CVEC to keep the benefits locally and be able to move faster on the construction.
Richard also informed the DCC that VP is looking to take part in the offshore development of 10 wind turbines and sell the electricity to its own members.

4. Manager’s Report
Regionalization Conference follow up
  • Martina reached out to Franklin Regional Council of Governments to get samples of the MOUs they use with the towns regarding the programs they run in order to prepare a MOU to propose to the island towns regarding the VHCAP and the IPM program.
  • Martina talked to Tim Dodd from the DOR DLS (Dept. of Local Services) who is in charge of the Community Innovation Challenge Grant (CIC) to see what projects would be feasible and acceptable under this grant. Unfortunately, a proposal for construction of a building to house regional services that are already in place is not what they would be eager to fund.  They would like the applicants to come up with innovative ideas that would save the towns significant funds in the long run and/or have substantial positive effect on the quality of services otherwise provided by individual towns. I had a meeting with the Center 4 Living representatives to find out what their needs are and will continue to research options how to help them get a permanent location that would meet their needs.   
  • Martina said she reached out to the Cape Cod Commission to find out more details regarding the e-permitting that they received the CIC grant for ($500K) and the potential for the island towns to become part of the project if interested. She spoke with person leading the initiative and agreed on future cooperation to apply for an expansion grant. Once she receives more information, she is planning to approach the towns.  
  • Another area that would have potential for funding under this grant would be services that the BOHs would like to cooperate on regionally and Melinda will reach out to them to see if there is an interest and if the County could help with the grant application.
Personnel
  • Martina said she attended a seminar for supervisors on how to conduct performance evaluations of employees on September 21st (organized by the Town of West Tisbury) with Dianne Powers from Registry of Deeds and Sarah Kuh (VHCAP Director).  The Personnel Board met on Monday September 24th and all agreed that they would like to see the Performance Evaluation Forms once completed by the Department Heads to make sure that the evaluation was done objectively and that it is documented that the employee is meeting the goals before they approve a step increase.  The Personnel Board from the Town of Edgartown and West Tisbury has the same charge.
Martina said she will be hiring Connie Andrade as the Administrative Assistant. She will be starting in 2 weeks.
Martina said she will be participating in a Mass Municipal Personnel Association Supervisory Leadership Development Program designed specifically for municipal employees of Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket and Plymouth Counties in cooperation with UMass (18-hour training).
VA contract – update
  • Joann Murphy, the Veterans Agent is helping organize the visit. A meeting with the
Veterans will take place at the Tisbury American Legion Post at 5pm.
Courthouse
Martina prepared an application to apply for Community Preservation funds to repair the rest of the big windows (26) at the Courthouse using the same specifications and prepared a budget for this project based on the pricing of the current contract. I submitted the application in West Tisbury already as the deadline was Friday September 21st.  Deadline for applications to Edgartown CPC is this Friday September 28th; Tisbury and Oak Bluffs deadline is in October.  

DC Health Council
Martina will be attending a meeting of the DCHC tomorrow Sept. 27th. The following Health Council members resigned: Cindy Mitchel, Nell Coogan and Nancy Phillips. The Nominating Committee approved couple of new applicants for membership and if the whole Health Council supports the nominations she will add it to the next DCC agenda to appoint the new members.  

Mass In Motion
Martina signed the contract for the Mass In Motion grant to continue for another year (9/29/2012 -9/29/2013) and Peg Regan prepared and submitted the budget for that period to the Dept. of Public Health.

Cape Light Audit of county buildings was done. All of the lighting and energy control measures were already in place.~As a result from the initial visit I also requested a weatherization/insulation audit to be done by the Cape Light Compact on the New York Ave building and the Courthouse.    

Joseph Sylvia State Beach  - The Barrier Beach Task Force meeting is tomorrow  September 27th at 9:30am at the County Administration Building with a full agenda. There will be discussions about planting, signs, invasive species and the management plan in general.

4. Old Business
Eastville Beach – Tristan asked if the manager could come up with a proposal for a management plan of the Eastville Beach before spring time.

5.  Calendar:
- September 27th at 7:30am - DC Health Council (West Tisbury Public Safety Building)
- September 27th at 9:30am – Barrier Beach Task Force (DC Administration Building)
- September 28th at 9:00am – Airport Commission (Airport Conference Room)
- October 3rd at 5pm – Veterans Administration Delegation meeting with the island veterans at the Tisbury Legion Hall

Regular meeting was adjourned at 6pm.

Respectfully Submitted by:

______________________________
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts

Documents presented at the meeting and part of the official records:
  • Agenda
  • Manager’s Report
  • Auditor Exit Meeting Agenda
  • Old Business List
  • SSA Memorandum from meeting September 25, 2012
  • Exhibit “A” for premises of SSA
  • Google Map of Airport Property