Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA
County Commissioners: Chair Melinda Loberg, Christine Todd, John Alley, Lenny Jason, Tom Hallahan, Leon Brathwaite and Tristan Israel
County Staff: Noreen Mavro Flanders – County Treasurer, Martina Thornton – County Manager,
Connie Andrade - Administrative Assistant to the County Manager, Chuck Cotnoir – County Emergency Management Director, Dianne Powers – Register of Deeds, Mike Joyce and Teresa Manning – Youth Task Force, Joe Sollitto – Dukes County Clerk of Courts,
Others: Joanie Ames– MVTV, Katie Ruppel - Vineyard Gazette, Brenda Brathwaite, James Klingensmith
The meeting was called to order at 5:04PM.
The new Dukes County Commissioners are Leon Brathwaite and Christine Todd.
Joe Sollitto - Dukes County Clerk of Courts swore in Dianne Powers as Register of Deeds and all the County Commissioners.
Jo-Ann Murphy gave an update on the Veteran’s Office. She said Dr. Vanbeber was here again today. He has seen 51 new patients on the Vineyard not including the seven he has seen today. She also said that Dr. Vanbeber received approval for a CDT Cellular Phone hookup. This means that when Dr. Vanbeber is here, he can call specialists from Providence to ask questions about the patient’s ongoing medical issues. He is coming almost every week. She said they can’t get approval for some procedures like hearing tests on the Vineyard, as they do not fall under the “primary care” category. Veterans will have to travel off island for those services, due to funding issues.
- Associate Commissioner (AC) For Fisheries Update:
Warren Doty-AC for Fisheries gave an update. Warren said this position was created in Feb. 2009. Since then, we have sent delegations to Boston to attend fishing hearings to testify on behalf of the Fishermen’s Association. The Flounder Project in Aquinnah is over and they ended up with a little bit of a balance in the checking account. Warren also said Martina has worked with them on grant funding for recycling of fishing gear and clean up at the Lagoon Pond. Warren said that he has resigned from being the President of the Fisherman’s Association and that he is also resigning his position as the Associate Commissioner of Fisheries. He said he believes a younger person, or one that is currently in the fishing industry should be appointed and that if he resigns they will be pressured into finding someone
to fill this position.
- Medical Marijuana Dispensaries on MV – Youth Task Force (YTF) Report:
Theresa Manning – Youth Task Force (YTF) Coordinator and Mike Joyce-Co-Chairman of the YTF gave a presentation on the new Medical Marijuana Dispensary Law. Theresa said that the YTF reached out to the Commissioners and the Towns about 3 or 4 weeks ago to ask municipalities to delay the enactment of this legislation as many communities in Massachusetts were requesting the same because they do not have proper bylaws to manage these dispensaries in a responsible way. The YTF will be working closely with the Towns, the Boards and the Police departments. Starting Jan 1st we have 120 days to get bylaw into place. The YTF is concerned with the loopholes in the law. Mike said their main concern is making sure that people under 21 do not have access to marijuana products. He is also concerned that fake
identification cards will be made and with the vague definition of “any other condition as determined by a doctor”. Theresa said one of her concerns is that each County has to have at least one dispensary and can have up to five. The dispensaries will be a nonprofit organization, so they will not be contributing to taxes in any way. A discussion followed. Lenny wanted to know if it overrides town bylaws. Tristan said it would be like the alcohol bylaws. Theresa said these dispensaries are cash only, and could cause problems for towns with large amounts of cash with break-ins and thefts. Mike said that we should change from nonprofit to profit so the towns can get some revenue that could be used for rehab and prevention. He is also concerned that the Department of Public Health is in charge of overseeing this and they are short staffed. Leon asked if it was covered by health insurance. Theresa said no. Tom said it could be in the future. Tristan recommended this presentation be done
at the all island Selectmen’s meeting. Mike said if it’s a hardship to get to a dispensary, you are allowed to grow your own. Martina asked if there was data that would show how many dispensaries or how big a dispensary would need to be to serve our community. Theresa said that for the first year they can put up to 35 dispensaries in the State and that number could be increased if demand is higher. Martina asked if we only have one, will that be enough, or will people be able to claim hardship? Leon wanted to know if a Town or a Municipality could open one? Martina said it would allow the community to put stricter regulations in place and benefit from the revenue income.
Proposed Legislation – Registry of Deeds Fee Increase of $10.00:
Dianne Powers-Register of Deeds said that Norfolk County is trying to get legislation passed that would increase recording fees by $10.00 and Martina had asked her what kind of revenue the legislation would generate. She said based on last year’s numbers it could potentially generate up to $130,000.00 of extra income for the County. Dianne also said the fees have not been raised since 2003 when Governor Romney increased all the fees dramatically, but the County did not receive any additional funds. A discussion followed. Martina said the Legislation would be filed by the end of January. Tristan said that if we are cash-strapped this is a good answer. Tom said he is against the proposal and that we should be more creative in generating our own income through grants and not adding it to the taxpayers.
Lenny said he agreed with Tom that it is a burden on the taxpayer. Noreen said that when Governor Romney put the increased fees into effect, that all the income went to the State. None of the fees that come to the County has increased in 20 to 30 years. John said he sees it as a revenue source. Tristan said this is for transactions at the Registry of Deeds and not the same as a taxpayer and it wouldn’t tax everyone on the island. Melinda said she is in favor, because we have funding issues and if we do not do this, we will have to go to the taxpayers. Christine said she is in favor of this, but believes we should continue on other avenues to generate income.
Tristan/John moved to support this legislation. So voted. Melinda, John, Leon, Christine and Tristan voted yes, Tom and Lenny voted no. Motion carries.
Tristan/Tom moved to approve the minutes from 9-26-12. So voted. Melinda, Tristan and Tom voted yes. John and Lenny abstained. So voted. Motion carries.
Tristan/Tom moved to approve the minutes from 10-10-12. So voted. Melinda, Tristan and Tom voted yes. John and Lenny abstained. So voted. Motion carries.
Tristan/Tom moved to approve the minutes from 11-14-12. So voted. Melinda, Tristan, and Tom voted yes .John and Lenny abstained. So voted. Motion carries.
Tristan/Tom moved to approve the minutes from 12-19-12. So voted. Melinda, Tristan, John, Lenny and Tom voted yes. So voted. All in favor.
Melinda asked for a volunteer to represent the DCC on the Joint Transportation Committee (JTC). Leon said he would attend a meeting and make a decision as to whether he is interested. Tristan said it would be good for us to have representation, so if Leon is not interested we should appoint someone else, or we can solicit from the public as well.
- Eastville Beach Committee:
Melinda asked for a volunteer for the Eastville Beach Committee. Melinda said Eastville Beach is partly owned by Tisbury and Oak Bluffs. There was a volunteer committee in place to help manage the beach but it was dissolved. The new committee should consist of a county representative and one person from the each town. Tristan volunteered as the Tisbury Representative and Christine for the DCC.
Tristan/Tom moved to appoint Christine as the DCC representative to the Eastville Beach Committee. So voted. All in favor.
Martina said the following appointments are expiring in February: two Airport Commissioners (3year appointments), Associate Commissioner (AC) for Public Health, AC for Disability Affairs, AC for Homeless, AC for Fisheries, AC for Elderly and the Emergency Management Director (all 1 year appointments). We also have several openings on the Dukes County Health Council (two year appointments). They will be advertised in the paper. Deadline for applications is on Feb. 1 at 4pm. We have many people that are willing to continue serving. Martina said Marcia Cini will continue as County Counsel for two more years. Martina said she will review the candidates with the DCC at the February 13th meeting.
- Deputy County Manager:
- Martina appointed Noreen Mavro Flanders as the Dukes County Deputy County Manager to assure continuation of operation in times when she is out of the office.
- FY 2014 Budget:
Martina distributed the first draft of the budget. She said she has not had time to do an overall analysis as the printout were given to her just before the meeting. The budgets are based on conversations we had with the County Advisory Board. Included are the changes they discussed and wanted to see. A majority of the proposed budget is based on prior years expenditures. Warrant articles have been submitted to the towns. If we amend the budgets for the Vineyard Health Care Access Program (VHCAP) or Integrated Pest Management (IPM) we will have to change the warrant articles to the Towns.
On January 2nd, Dukes County hosted a delegation from St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Anita Botti, Chief of Staff of the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, who has lived on St. Vincent and is a long-time resident of Martha’s Vineyard, was the initiator of an effort to bring the two islands together. Larry Palmer, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean was present, as well as Mr. Omari S. Williams, Minister-Counselor from the Embassy of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. He explained the concerns that St. Vincent has regarding their fire prevention and suppression capabilities and was looking for some input from the islanders. He answered many detailed questions about the geography, governmental structure, infrastructure and laws & regulations of St. Vincent. Seth
Rolbein, Senior Advisor to Senator Wolf coordinated the efforts that led to this meeting and her Excellency La Celia A. Prince, Ambassador of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, who was instrumental in communicating St. Vincent's interest in conducting the meeting. Martina said she has a press release, but she is waiting for approval from both embassies before release.
- Steamship Authority (SSA) Lot Updates:
Martina said that the Steamship Board agreed to hold the lot for the County for another year in hopes that the moratorium on the PV projects on the Airport land will be lifted and we will be able to proceed with our project.
- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Towns:
Martina said she was in the process of drafting a MOU and has been working with Sarah Kuh and Cynthia Mitchell from the Health Council to revise the draft. She also needs to prepare one for Integrated Pest Management (IPM). It will address the scope of services as agreed on by the towns. She requested others to review it. Tristan and Leon said they would review it with her.
- Meeting with FEMA and MEMA:
Martina said she was meeting on January 7th to find out the requirements for applying for disaster relief from Hurricane Sandy. FEMA reimburses 75% of the expenses of eligible projects. The kickoff meeting will be scheduled at the end of January. Friends of Sengekontacket and the Town of Oak Bluffs will be involved.
Martina said she went to the Water Alliance meeting today, it was very informative. She offered them to use the county website because they currently do not have one. Martina said they were very excited and scheduled a meeting on Friday January 11th to start the process.
Martina said she is going to have Brian Kennedy and his crews do some painting at the Administration Building.
Melinda asked Martina on the status of the courthouse windows. Martina said she looked at the contract and Carlton has until mid-February to complete the project. Martina also said she had a meeting with Eric Goldwire and he will paint the trim when the windows are finished.
No new business was discussed.
- New Chairman and Vice-Chairman Appointments:
Melinda asked for nominations for Chairman and Vice-Chairman of DCC.
Lenny/John nominated Tom for Chairman. So voted. All in favor.
Tristan/John moved to close the nominations. So voted. All in favor.
Lenny/John nominated Lenny for Vice-Chairman. So voted. All in favor.
Tristan/John moved to close the nominations. So voted. All in favor.
Leon asked if we have any flu vaccine left. Chuck told him he had a conversation with one of the pharmacies and supplies are on the low side. Leon said with the flu epidemic we should think about having another day for a flu shot clinic. Chuck said he could talk to someone in the public sector about that.
John/Tristan moved to adjourn the meeting. So voted. All in favor.
Meeting was adjourned at 6:44pm.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts
Documents presented at the meeting and part of the official records:
- 2014 Draft Budget
- SSA Memorandum
- 2013 County Appointments Available
- YTF Handout information on new Marijuana Laws
- An Act Relative to Enhancement of Regional Services (Registry of Deeds $10.00 fee increase).
- Old Business List