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Welcome to the Town of Chilmark, MA
Finance Advisory Committee Minutes 02/17/2010
Town of Chilmark Finance Advisory Committee             February 17, 2010       Meeting Minutes

Committee Members Present:      Marshall Carroll, Frank LoRusso, John Maloney, Bill Randol, Sarah Mayhew Shipway, Richard Williams, Frank Yeomans.  

Others Present: Randhi Belain, Joyce Bowker, Katie Carroll, Tim Carroll, Brian Cioffi, Emily Day, Warren Doty, Frank Fenner, Nina Lombardi, David Norton, J.B. Riggs Parker,

Chairman Marshall Carroll called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.  

Up-Island regional School District
The Up-Island regional School District certified a new budget number and Chilmark’s assessment has been amended to $1,896,019.69, which a $5,427.59 decrease, which will lower the overall Town budget.

Mr. Carroll discussed the tax rate recapitulation and FY11 tax levy limitation handouts.  Mr. Carroll said the estimated tax rate for FY11 would be $2.10 per $1,000 of property value, which is $116,292.88 under the levy limit, but stressed that this is a strictly an estimated number and is not concrete.  Approving the budget as presented would mean there would be no need for an override; however, there was the last minute addition of a warrant article to replace windows at the West Tisbury School.  The Selectmen made note that they had not received the requested report from the Superintendent’s Office detailing the need to replace the windows.  

Board of Health (510) Budget Hearing
Board of Health Chair, Katie Carroll presented the FY11 budget and reported that the only significant budget increase was the Board of Health Inspector/Administrator’s salary grade (5138) increasing due to certification Ms. Lent has obtained.  Mr. Fenner questioned why Water Testing (5317) had been budgeted for $1,075 and why no more than $475 had been spent over the years.  Ms. Carroll explained that once a negative water test is received the next step of testing is expensive, so it has to be budgeted as such.  In addition, it is anticipated that the State will no longer financially contribute to water testing at Chilmark beaches, which is an expense the Town would need to absorb.  

Waste Collection (430) Budget Hearing
Don Hatch of the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District was unable to attend the budget hearing, hence board member Frank Fenner assisted with budget questions.  Mr. Fenner indicated that the Drop Off Operation (5233) increased due to salary step increases and Tipping Fees (5294) increased because of anticipated fee increases from CMAS.  There was a question as to why Landfill Maintenance (5236), which covers mowing and water testing at the Landfill, has been budgeted for $5,000 and only a fraction has been expended in the past few years.  Mr. Carroll explained that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requested Chilmark add a maintenance line to the Landfill’s budget to be incompliance with the license to operate the Landfill.  Mr. Carroll also indicated that the Landfill will require additional maintenance to prepare for the DEP’s inspection in June.  The FINCOM decided to amend Landfill Maintenance (5236) to $4,000.

Up-Island Council on Aging (541) Budget Hearing
Joyce Bowker presented the FY11 budget for the Up-Island Council on Aging (541) and noted that the largest increase in the budget resulted from salary increases.  Ms. Bowker explained that due to her twenty-five years of service she does not receive a step increase, but collects 4% of her salary for longevity.  Ms. Bowkey stated that every three years the town of West Tisbury hires a consulting firm to review non-elected municipal positions, and as a result two positions at the Up-Island Council on Aging have been reclassified to receive higher salary steps.  If the reclassification of the two positions is approved by West Tisbury’s vote than Chilmark’s share of that increase will be $1,919.99.  Ms. Bowker attested that the budget was drafted with no COLA factored in.  

There was a question regarding Chilmark’s budget report for the Up-Island Council on Aging, which portrayed that FY10 budgeted salaries had already been expended by almost $15,000; it was possible the former Accountant posted the expenses to the wrong item and the new Accountant, Emily Day, will research the discrepancy.  Ms. Bowker reported that over 30% of Chilmark’s population is sixty years old or older.  Chilmark’s 34% share of the budget is based on population, which calculates to be $95,580.46.   Mr. Fenner pointed out that the Up-Island Council on Aging and Dukes County Health Care Access Program budgets assessed together has a 6.05% total increase from FY10.  Ms. Bowker stated that the Up-Island Council on Aging had a FY11 budget increase of 3.3% in personal services (salaries) and 5.3% in operating expenses due mostly to increases in maintenance.  Mr. Yeomans asked if Chilmark and Aquinnah were aware that West Tisbury was hiring the consulting firm to review the non-elected municipal positions and Mr. Carroll said a report from the consulting firm was sent to the Personnel Board.  

Tri-Town Ambulance (230) Budget Hearing
Representatives from Tri-Town Ambulance, Aquinnah Chief of Police Randhi Belain and Chilmark Chief of Police Brian Cioffi, presented the FY11 budget.  Chief Belain reported that the resignation of the Tri-Town Ambulance Coordinator resulted in a total overview of the Tri-Town Ambulance operations.  As a result, a new position of Ambulance Chief (40 hours a week, salary grade 11, step one) was created to replace that of the part-time Ambulance Coordinator position.  Chief Belain explained that over the last fifteen years Tri-Town Ambulance has gone from volunteer EMTs to a fulltime service with paramedics, and is working towards compliance with State guidelines to provide a twenty-four/seven paramedic service.  Chief Belain declared that Tri-Town is reorganizing to become more efficient and the budget reflected that.  For example, EMT Incentive (5124) pay was a fragmented system, thus it is being changed to a $75 pay-per-shift system, which is reflected by the approximately $40,000 decrease in that line item.  Chief Cioffi explained that there was an increased in Telephones/Modems/Pagers (5341) due to a system upgrade for CMED, the radio system used to communicate between the ambulance and the hospital.

In addition, Chief Belain explained that there were additional increases due to step increases for the ALS Supervisor (5165) and the Clerical (5168) assistant.  Although major revisions had been made to the Tri-Town budget it was primarily level funded.  Mr. LoRusso asked the revenues generated and Chief Belain reported that in FY09 $175,235.84 was collected in revenue, which is a 71% return of the services billed.  Chief Belain explained that 80% of Tri-Town’s revenue is used to pay down each town’s assessment and the other 20% is earmarked to a special fund for capital purchases.  The revenues from FY09 get subtracted from the total Tri-Town budget and then divided by three towns to determine Chilmark’s share of the Tri-Town budget, which $104,268.67.  The FINCOM members complimented Chief Belain and Chief Cioffi for the Tri-Town Committees efforts to change Tri-Town’s operating system for the better.  There was a discussion on whether or not the seasonal EMTs should be eligible for unemployment after the season ends and Mr. Yeomans suggested that the Town look into that.  

Police Department (210) Budget Hearing
Chief Cioffi presented the FY10 budget, which reflected decreases from the previous year due to Chief Tim Rich’s retirement buyout plan and fiscal conservation efforts made by Chief Cioffi.  Chief Cioffi attested that his department’s budget had been decreased or level funded with the exception of step increases that he, two patrolmen and returning seasonal officers will receive.  Chief Cioffi reported that at this time last year $26,000 had been spent from the Overtime Compensation (5130) budget line compared to $17,000 this year, as he often covers shifts to avoid overtime in the department.  Chief Cioffi revised the budget line items for Summer/Special Officers (5141) to $72,556.80 and Traffic Officers (5150) to $32,838.40 to reflect the elimination of the Seasonal Compensation Plan.  The total Police Department budget for FY10 is $524,699.28 compared to $519,185 from FY09, which is a $5,500 increase due to personnel expense increases, but an overall decrease in operating expenses.  

Chief Cioffi brought to attention that holiday pay for officers gets paid out of the Overtime Compensation (5130) budget and suggested that a separate line item be created for holiday pay because it is not truly an overtime expenditure.  Due to the police collective bargaining agreement, holiday time can be taken in three different ways: work and get paid time and a half, compensation time or a combination of both.  Chief Cioffi suggested taking $10,000 from Overtime Compensation (5130) and creating a Holiday Pay line item in the budget.  The FINCOM members directed the Accountant to create a Holiday Pay line in the Police Department budget.  The Chief was asked if the department received any reimbursement from the Presidential visit in August, which cost the Department $2,500, and he said they did not.

Chief Cioffi presented a warrant article request to purchase a new Ford Explorer 4x4 police cruiser for $23,610, a reduced rate through Boston Greater Police Council, and an additional $3,500 for incidental equipment for the cruiser, for a total of $27,110.  Chief Cioffi made note of the need for an additional four wheel drive police cruiser citing that, due to the rural nature of Chilmark, most roads are impassable in inclement weather and 4x4 vehicles are also needed to assist with beach emergencies.  The Vehicle Supplies (5482) budget item would also be expended to outfit the new cruiser with the mandated equipment, if warrant article is approved.  Chief Cioffi requested a second warrant article for $3,500 to help fund the joint training of the Island Tactical Response Team, that has lost grant funding from the Community Policing Grant that the State is no longer providing.  Chief Cioffi declared that the Island Tactical Response Team is a vital asset to the Island and has three members of the Chilmark Police Department on the team.    

Chief Cioffi also spoke to a warrant article request that would be added to the Emergency Management (291) budget for Code Red, which is an Island-wide reverse 911 system for emergency and non-emergency public notifications.  Chief Cioffi explained that the Internet based system provides all emergency messages to the public for free, such as hurricane warnings, Amber Alerts, toxic spills etc.  In addition, Chilmark would be provided with 1,257 minutes a year to send non-emergency public announcements to residents regarding road paving, water bands, school closing, etc.  Code Red has many features that include providing a report of messages received by a live person versus an answering machine and can map out specific areas where you want the alert to reach.  Residents can request the alert messages be sent to their cell phone and email address.  Mr. Carroll stated that Chilmark’s annual assessment for three years to participate in Code Red would be $787.17.  The Selectmen voted to recommend that Code Red be included in the Emergency Management budget on February 16, 2010.  

Fire Department (220) Budget Hearing
For the FY11 Fire Department’s budget Chief Norton reduced multiple budget lines and increased Mileage Allowance (5711) in order to comply with the Personnel Bylaw that does not allow personal vehicle gasoline to be purchased out of the Gasoline (5481) line, but rather to recorded mileage to be reimbursed.  Chief Norton also made note of the warrant article request for $35,000 to be earmarked for the Fire Department’s stabilization fund towards the purchase of land to build a new fire station.

Warrant Articles
Mr. Carroll reviewed the list of requested warrant articles and discussed which articles could be allocated to Free Cash or Raise and Appropriate (R&A) through taxes.  Mr. Carroll said the typical practice is to appropriate annual expenses to Raise and Appropriate and to use Free Cash for one time expenditures.  Mr. Carroll indicated that certain articles are also classified as Free Cash because the money is available the day after the article is approved at the Annual Town Meeting (April) versus articles under Raise and Appropriate that are available at the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1).  Below is a list of the FY11 warrant article requests:

FINCOM Reserve – $40,000 (Free Cash $12,315; Overlay $27,685).

Community Center – $5000 (R&A).

Health Care Access A – $9,374.26 (R&A).

Heath Care Access B – $6,559.90 (R&A).

Pest Control – $4,949.15 (R&A).

Re-Evaluation of Town – $55,000 (R&A).

Emergency Roof Siren – $9,000 (Free Cash)
DISCUSSION: the members discussed whether or not the siren was necessary and decided to take no action and let the Town decide.  

Shellfish MVSG Tisbury Pond Oyster Reefs – $2,500 (Free Cash).

Police Ford Explorer 4x4 – $27,110 (Free Cash).
Police Tactic team Training & Equipment – $3,500 (Free Cash).

Stabilization Fund – $50,000 (Free Cash).

Stabilization Fund Fire – $35,000 (Free Cash).

Middle Line Road Bonding Cost – $30,000 (Free Cash)
DISCUSSION: Using Free Cash to pay the $30,000 bonding costs upfront is a better financial decision than rolling the cost into the fifteen year bond.   

OPEB – Unfunded Liability >$300,000 – $100,000 (R&A).

WT School Window replacement – $34,525 (Free Cash)
DISCUSSION: the members determined that there was not enough information detailing the cause and cost of the window replacement and decided to take no action until further information was provided.

Harbor Shack Replacement – $30,000 (Free Cash)
        DISCUSSION: Postponed until the Special Town Meeting in the fall.

MVCC – $1,500 (Free Cash).

Shellfish Outboard – $10,000 (Free Cash).

Town Center Paths – $4,000 (Free Cash).

Affordable Housing Trust – article to establish the Trust
DISCUSSION:  the Town needs to vote the Trust into effect to have authority to build affordable housing and establish a fund to earmark affordable housing money.  The FINCOM members had not received information on the Trust prior to the meeting and decided to take no action on this warrant article and schedule a special meeting to approve it.  

Zoning Bylaw Amendments
DISCUSSION: there was discussion regarding the warrant article “placeholders” to amend the Zoning Bylaws to place a one year moratorium on building wind turbines as well as define homesite inheritability.  A FINCOM meeting will be scheduled to recommend these amendments after the public hearings are held.  

Abolishment of Season Compensation Plan

Harbor Mooring Tackle Maintenance – $6,000 (Waterways).

A motion was made and seconded to approve all of the proposed FY11 warrant articles that require financial appropriations with the exception of the Emergency Roof Siren, West Tisbury School window replacement and the Harbor Mooring Tackle Maintenance articles.  SO VOTED: Six Ayes; One Abstain (Yeomans).

A motion was made and seconded to approve appropriating $6,000 from the Chilmark Waterways Fund to pay for the Harbor Mooring Tackle Maintenance warrant article.  SO VOTED: Seven Ayes.

A motion was made and seconded to take no action on the Emergency Roof Siren and the West Tisbury School window replacement warrant articles.  SO VOTED: Seven Ayes.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the warrant article to abolish the Seasonal Compensation Plan.  SO VOTED: Seven Ayes.

No action was taken on the warrant articles for the Affordable Housing Trust and the Zoning Bylaw amendments; a special meeting would be held to review and vote on these articles.

Community Preservation Act Warrant Articles
Article 1:  To see if the Town will vote to approve the following request of the Community Preservation Committee:  To see if the Town will vote to reserve from the Community Preservation Fund FY 2011 estimated annual revenues up to the following amounts for community preservation projects:  $19,600.00 for Open Space Reserve Fund; $19,600.00 for Historic Resources Reserve Fund; $19,600.00 for the Housing Reserve Fund; and $137,200.00 for the Community Preservation Budgeted Reserve Fund.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved the Community Preservation Act Article 1.  SO VOTED: Seven Ayes.  

Article 2:  To see if the Town will vote to approve the following request of the Community Preservation Committee:  To see if the town will vote to appropriate from the  Historic Resources Reserve Fund the sum of  $30,000.00 to restore Chilmark’s historic stone walls along the roadsides.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved the Community Preservation Act Article 2.  SO VOTED: Seven Ayes.  

Article 3:  To see if the Town will vote to approve the following request of the Community Preservation Committee and the Housing Committee:  To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a total of $55,000.00 from the FY 2011 Community Preservation Budgeted Reserve Fund to replenish the funds in Chilmark’s Housing Year-Round Rental Conversion Program that is managed by the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved the Community Preservation Act Article 3.  SO VOTED: Seven Ayes.  

Article 4:   To see if the Town will vote to approve the following request of the Community Preservation Committee:  To see if the Town will vote to appropriate a total of $5,545.00 from the Historic Resources Reserve Fund to partially fund the replacement of the windows on the original Dukes County Courthouse building.  A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved the Community Preservation Act Article 4.  SO VOTED: Seven Ayes.  

Approval of FY11 Budget
Mr. Yeomans asked when the next FINCOM meeting would be called to approve the warrant articles that no action was taken on tonight and if the FINCOM could approve the FY11 budget at that meeting.  Mr. Carroll explained that in order to be concurrent with the Selectmen’s schedule to approve the warrant as recommended at their meeting on March 2 and to ensure the warrant is included in the annual town report, it would be ideal to vote the budget tonight.  Ms. Day stated that, taking into the account the changes made to the budget this evening, the total FY11 budget is $6,809,151.61, which is a 2.66% increase over the voted Town budget for FY10, which does not take into account the Police Chief retirement buyouts.  A motion was made and seconded to approve the FY11 budget of $6,809,151.61.  SO VOTED: Six Ayes; One Nay (Yeomans).  Mr. Yeomans believed approving the budget was too rushed and more time should be taken to thoroughly review all of the department budgets.  

There was a discussion about the February 3, 2010 minutes.  Mr. Carroll noted that he was recorded incorrectly by the following: “Mr. Carroll said that the Post Employment Benefits (5184) was budgeted at $10,000 in FY10, but was not appropriated or spent, so it was removed from the budget.”  Mr. Carroll amended his statement to say that the $10,000 appropriated in the budget for Post Employment Benefits was a typo and that he and Ms. Day were researching the item.  A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes of February 3, 2010 as amended.  SO VOTED: Seven (7) Ayes.   

Chairman Marshall Carroll thanked the Selectmen and the FINCOM members for their time and hard work on the FY11 budget.     

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.  Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by Nina M. Lombardi.  

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