Oak Bluffs asks voters to use stabilization fund to pay bills

Oak Bluffs asks voters to use stabilization fund to pay bills

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Oak Bluffs selectmen approved a special town meeting warrant Tuesday that asks voters to transfer $135,558 from the town’s stabilization fund for unforeseen costs including library repairs, accounting services, and hazardous waste disposal this year.

The special town meeting is scheduled to precede the April 12 annual town meeting (a copy of the special town meeting warrant is available in the web version of this story).

The stabilization fund, which has a balance of slightly more than $1 million, is informally known as the “rainy day” account, in which voters appropriate money for unexpected expenses.

Because of deficits over the past two years, the town has no free cash available to absorb the extra expenses in the current fiscal year.

Voters made substantial cuts in the current year budget just a month ago. At a February 22 special town meeting, voters authorized current year spending reductions of approximately $249,000, mostly by agreeing to save the salary and benefit costs of four town staff positions that were not filled when town workers left the jobs.

Duncan Ross, chairman of the selectmen, foreshadowed the difficulties ahead.

“These cuts are a prayer,” Mr. Ross said at the February special town meeting, “and we hope that it will work. We hope that we will not be back here at a special town meeting asking for a transfer from stabilization, because these cuts didn’t work.”

The largest item on the special town meeting warrant is a request to transfer $50,000 to repair the heating and air conditioning system at the library. Since the library opened in 2005, the system has not worked properly. Condensation has damaged walls, floors, and ceilings. The town has already spent approximately $73,000 in repairs in the six years the library has been open. The sub-contractor that installed the system went out of business shortly after completing work on the library.

The $50,000 transfer may not cover the entire cost. “I don’t have prices yet on what it’s going to cost,” town administrator Michael Dutton said. “It’s very possible that by the time we get to town meeting, we will either have a more exact figure, or we will have some conflicts over the work that has to be done that we will have to deal with.”

Voters will also be asked to transfer $31,000 from the stabilization fund for accounting services. One of the positions not filled was that of finance director, following the untimely death of town finance director and treasurer Paul Manzi. A state department of revenue review of town finances compounded the money problems when state officials would not certify the town’s tax rate, because projected revenues were falling short of the money needed to pay for current-year operating expenses. The town hired a municipal finance executive on a temporary basis and has since contracted with an accounting firm to complete the year’s required reporting to the state Department of Revenue.

Also on the warrant are requests for stabilization fund transfers for $24,000 to pay for veteran’s services, and $20,000 for disposal of hazardous waste from the Lake Avenue street project completed last spring.

Also requested is $5,558 for extra work by the tax collector’s office, and $5,000 for extra work in the building office. The building office has been without an administrator since October, when Adam Wilson left the job to take another position.

Selectmen also approved the annual town meeting warrant, which includes a $24.7 million dollar operating budget. They voted to put a Proposition 2.5 override question before voters asking if they want to spend $230,000 to pave and repair town roads. Also on an override question is $256,711 worth of spending that would restore many of the cuts selectmen made to balance the fiscal year 2012 budget.

“We have a workable budget, whether the town votes the additional funds or not,” Mr. Dutton said.

In other action Tuesday, selectmen voted to appeal a Superior court decision in a long running and potentially costly legal dispute. On March 2, Superior Court Judge C. Brian McDonald ordered the zoning board of appeals to pay the defendents Carla and Neil Rolde $41,000 “as compensation for losses incurred by them, including attorney’s fees, for its contemptuous conduct.”

The case dates back to 2004. At issue is the board’s alleged lack of enforcement of a building permit and failure to hold a public hearing of an appeal of that permit.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

March 24, 2011: An earlier version incorrectly identified former town finance director and treasurer Paul Manzi as town acountant.

WARRANT FOR SPECIAL TOWN MEETING

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

County of Dukes County, ss

To either of the Constables in the Town of Oak Bluffs, Greetings:

In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you are hereby directed to warn the inhabitants of the Town of Oak Bluffs who are qualified to vote in Town Affairs and Elections, to assemble at the Martha’s Vineyard High School Performing Arts Center, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm in the evening, then and there to act upon the following articles:

Article 1. To see if the Town will vote to transfer from Sale of Cemetery Lots Account (15-3303), the amount of $25,000 to pay for the restoration and conservation of cemetery records and the surveying and mapping of the Oak Grove Cemetery, or take any other action relative thereto.

Cemetery Commission and Highway Department

Article 2. To see if the Town will vote to transfer the care, custody and control of Town owned property located on Hudson Avenue, and more specifically identified on Assessor’s Map 21, Lot 13, consisting of approximately 10,890 square feet, from Resident Homesite to the Board of Selectmen and to authorize the Board of Selectmen to sell such property at auction for no less than the appraised value of the land, or take any action relative thereto.

Board of Selectmen

Executive Summary: This article authorizes the sale at public auction of a Resident Homesite lot. The lot has title problems which the Affordable Housing Committee has decided are not worth spending Town money to cure. The money raised by the sale goes to the Resident Homesite Fund and can be used by Town Meeting vote at a later date.

Article 3. To see if the Town will vote to transfer from the Stabilization account the sum of $50,000 to pay for the repair work to the Library HVAC system, or take any action relative thereto.

Board of Selectmen

Article 4. To see if the Town will vote to transfer from the Stabilization Account the sum of $65,558 to supplement the following line items for FY2011, or take any action relative thereto:

1. Veterans 1543 $24,000

2. Accounting Services 1135 $31,000

3. Tax Collector Personnel 1146 $5,558

4. Building Office Personnel 1241 $5,000

Board of Selectmen

Executive Summary: This article provides funds several shortfalls in the FY2011 budget. It also provides additional funds to complete the Town’s yearly submissions to the Department of Revenue.

Article 5. To see if the Town will vote to transfer from the Stabilization account the sum of $20,000 to pay Lawrence Lynch for removal of contaminated soils as part of the Lake Avenue Pedestrian Safety project, or take any action relative thereto.

Highway Department

Executive Summary: This article pays for the required removal of contaminated soils in the area of Circuit Avenue Extension that were excavated as part of the Lake Avenue Pedestrian Safety Project. Town Counsel has been instructed to pursue a claim against the responsible parties for this amount as well as amounts spent during various other road projects in the area.

HEREIN FAIL NOT AND GIVE PUBLIC NOTICE BY CAUSING THIS NOTICE TO BE POSTED IN TWO(2) OR MORE PLACES IN THE TOWN AT LEAST FOURTEEN (14) DAYS BEFORE THE TIME OF SAID MEETING AND MAKE DUE RETURN OF THIS WARRANT WITH YOUR DOINGS TO THE TOWN CLERK AT THE TIME AND PLACE SPECIFIED.

GIVEN UNDER OUR HANDS THIS 22nd DAY OF MARCH, 2011

Duncan Ross, Chairman

Gail Barmakian

Kathleen Burton

Gregory A. Coogan

Ronald L. DiOrio

BOARD OF SELECTMEN

TOWN OF OAK BLUFFS

PURSUANT TO THE FOREGOING INSTRUCTIONS, I HEREBY NOTIFY AND WARN THE INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF OAK BLUFFS, QUALIFIED TO VOTE AS EXPRESSED IN THIS WARRANT TO VOTE AT THE TIME AND PLACE SPECIFIED.

Attest:

Constable

OFFICER’S RETURN

COUNTY OF DUKES COUNTY, SS.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING INSTRUCTIONS, I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT I DID ON THE _____ST DAY OF MARCH, 2011 GIVE PUBLIC NOTICE BY CAUSING ATTESTED COPIES OF THIS WARRANT TO BE POSTED IN TWO (2) OR MORE PLACES IN THE TOWN OF OAK BLUFFS, AND I HEREBY MAKE RETURN OF THIS WARRANT THIS _____ST DAY OF MARCH 2011.

Attest:

Constable

WARRANT FOR ANNUAL TOWN MEETING

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

County of Dukes County, ss

To either of the Constables in the Town of Oak Bluffs, Greetings:

In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you are hereby directed to warn the inhabitants of the Town of Oak Bluffs who are qualified to vote in Town Affairs and Elections, to assemble at the Martha’s Vineyard High School Performing Arts Center, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm in the evening, then and there to act upon the following articles:

Article 1. To see if the town will vote the FY 2012 Town Budget and transfers as printed in Appendix A attached, and subject to a general override election to be held on Thursday, May 26, 2011, those items in the column marked “FY2012 Override Amount,” or take any action relative thereto.

Board of Selectmen

Executive Summary: The budget, including transfers, is included as Appendix A.

Article 2. To see if the Town will vote to adopt Schedule A, Classification Schedule, and Schedule B, Compensation Schedule, of the Personnel Bylaws as printed Appendix B attached, or take any action relative thereto.

Personnel Board

Executive Summary: This yearly article sets the classifications and compensation ranges for town employees under the Personnel Board purview. The tables remain unchanged from FY2009 and FY2010.

Article 3. To see if the Town, upon recommendation of the Board of Selectmen, will vote as authorized by MGL Chapter 44, section 53E1/2 to re-establish a revolving fund for Department 296, Marina, to be funded from receipts collected from all transient visitors, or take any action relative thereto.

Harbormaster

Executive Summary: This article is the annual re-authorization of the Marina revolving account. The account collects a $1.50 surcharge from all transient visitors. The collected money is used to offset the cost of Harbor area infrastructure improvements such as piling repair and small dredging, and environmental impact to the harbor such as small oil spills.

Appropriation Recommended Amount

Community Administrative Expense $ 15,000

Reserves

Historic Resources $ 51,093

Community Housing $ 51,093

Open Space $ 51,093

Budgeted CPA Reserves $ 342,651

Community Preservation Committee

Executive Summary: This article is required by the Commonwealth on an annual basis to ensure that CPA funds are allocated at least 10% to each of the three required areas: Historic Resources, Community Housing, and Open Space. The appropriation for administrative expenses is less than 3% of the collected funds.

Article 5. To vote from the available CPA funding sources as follows:

From Reserves for Open Space $ 51,093

From Reserves for Community Housing $ 51,093

From Reserves for Historic Space $ 51,093

From Budgeted CPA Reserves/Undesignated Funds $ 478,721

For the following purposes based on the CPA Committee recommendation to spend $632,000 for the following projects:

Project Title Organization CPA Category Amount Recommended

1. O. B. Affordable Housing Trust Affordable Housing Community Housing $200,000

Committee

2. Sunset Lake/Lake Park Friends and Neighbors Open Space $55,000

Engineering Study of Sunset Lake

3. Niantic Park Parks Department Historic Space $160,000

Engineering Study

4. Rental Assistance DCRHA Community Housing $132,000

5. Massachusetts Estuaries Shellfish Dept. Open Space $45,000

Project Continuation for

Oak Bluffs Harbor and

Sunset Lake

6. Lantern Restoration Friends of Oak Bluffs Historic Space $40,000

TOTAL: $632,000

Community Preservation Committee

Executive Summary: The article would authorize the expenditure of funds already collected by the Community Preservation Committee to be used as specified. Funds are collected from taxpayers as a 3% surcharge, and then partially matched by the Commonwealth. Last year’s match was 38.4%. The CPC has developed a handout explaining its recommended decisions.

Article 6. To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $2,722 (two thousand seven hundred twenty-two dollars) to fund the Town’s share of the cost for a feasibility study for the replacement of the Superintendent’s Office. This study will include a review of the space needs for the office, an examination of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School property to determine a possible site and develop a rough estimate of the cost for a building on that site, or take any action relative thereto.

Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools

Article 7. To see if the Town will vote to transfer from the Wastewater Retained Earnings Account the sum of $150,000 to pay for the design engineering, permitting, and bid document preparation for the Lagoon Pond Sewering project which consists generally of sewering properties within the Lagoon Pond watershed, or take any action relative thereto.

Wastewater Department

Executive Summary: This article proposed to spend money from the Wastewater Retained Earnings Account to complete the initial planning for hooking up properties near Lagoon Pond to the wastewater system.

Article 8. To see if the Town will vote to accept the provisions of H4105, “An Act Authorizing the Government Employers In The County Of Dukes County To Establish A Pooled Other Post –Employment Benefits Trust Fund,” and vote to join the Trust, or take any action relative thereto.

Board of Selectmen

Executive Summary: This article, the final step in the creation and adoption of the OPEB Trust to become an investment vehicle for funds allocated to post-retirement benefits such as retiree health care. It allows the town to pool contributions with all other towns and other municipal entities for investment purposes. Contributions are pooled for investment purposes only. This article does not transfer any money to the trust. Only Town Meeting will have the authority to allocate money to the Trust.

Article 9. To see if the Town will vote to amend the Oak Bluffs Zoning By-Law by deleting the current Section 4.2.7 and replacing it with the following, or take any action relative thereto:

4.2.7 Special Permit for Setbacks within the R-1 District. The goal of this provision is to maintain and promote the historic and traditional character of the buildings, neighborhoods and streetscapes within Oak Bluffs consisting of, but not limited to, historic structures and/or established architectural styles, that are located on smaller lots created prior to current zoning. This provision is meant to assist homeowners of such lots with the right to improve, update and/or renovate their properties while encouraging respect for the existing character of a neighborhood.

Within the R-1 District the Board of Appeals may grant a Special Permit for the front, side and rear setback(s). The minimum setback that may be granted for a dwelling under this provision is five (5) feet from the front property line and ten (10) feet from the side and rear property lines. For accessory structures of four hundred (400) square feet or less the minimum setback allowed under this provision for all property lines shall be five (5) feet.

In addition to other factors, in reviewing this Special Permit application the Board of Appeals shall consider:

1. Whether the proposed setback(s) are consistent with existing setback(s) of other properties within the surrounding neighborhood;

2. Whether the proposed design is consistent with the general streetscape of the surrounding area;

3. Whether the proposed structure is consistent with the goals of this section.

Planning Board

Article 10. To see if the Town will amend the Oak Bluffs Zoning Bylaw and Map by changing the premises at 27 Winthrop Avenue, being Assessor’s Map 17, Parcel 19, from R-1 to B-1 in order to improve traffic conditions and public safety in the area, or take any action relative thereto.

Planning Board

Article 11. To see if the Town will vote to amend the Oak Bluffs General Bylaws, Chapter XXIII (Cottage City Historic District), Section B, Boundaries, by adding the following language, or take any action relative thereto:

“And, to include Assessor’s Map 11, Parcels 193 and 195.”

Cottage City Historic District Commission

Executive Summary: This article would add the properties known as the Denniston Church as part of the Cottage City Historic District.

Article 12. To see if the Town will vote to fix the compensation of full time and part-time elected officials of the Town as provided by M.G.L. Chapter 41, Section 108, as amended, for the twelve month period from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 as follow:

Board of Selectmen, Chair $4,500

Selectmen, Members $3,000 each

Constables $500 each

Town Clerk $74,360

Article 13. To see if the Town will vote to elect the following Town Officers on the official ballot:

One Moderator for 1 year

Two Selectmen for 3 years

Town Clerk for 3 years

One Board of Health Member for 3 years

One Cemetery Commissioner for 3 years

Three Finance & Advisory Committee Members for 3 years

One Planning Board Member for 5 years

One Parks Commissioner for 3 years

One School Committee Member for 3 years

One Water District Commissioner for 3 years

One Wastewater Commissioner for 3 years

Article 14.

To see if the Town will vote to support the following:

A resolution of the Town of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts to end the expenditure of our citizens’ tax dollars for excessive and unaffordable warfare.

Whereas, the financial resources available for use by governments at the local, county, state, and federal levels in the United States are and must be limited; and

an inordinate level of military expenditure is being made by the U.S. federal government for warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; and of the declared national defense budget, the tax burden on Massachusetts alone is about $21 billion per year, or approximately $3,200 per year for each man, woman, and child of the 6.6 million residents in Massachusetts ($9,600 per year for a family of three); and for just the supplemental war funding passed in August, $89 billion, the burden on each man, woman, and child in Massachusetts is an additional $454 per year, or a total of more than $3,650 per year (not counting prior and possible subsequent supplemental funding bills at the time of this resolution); and the approximately 3,954 people of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts are therefore collectively paying or becoming indebted for almost fifteen million dollars ($14,447,916) per year of their limited financial resources for such warfare, which supplied no identified public benefits; and this warfare creates great and unnecessary harm to the people of the nations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and to the U.S. military personnel and their families; and education services, infrastructure repairs, other essential public services, and family and private-sector financing in Oak Bluffs and throughout the State of Massachusetts have been substantially reduced in order for an excessive portion of available financial resources to be diverted from the constructive economy to unnecessary warfare; and all of this transpires as we struggle to recover as a nation, as a state, in our town, in our families and as individuals from a major crises of financial systems,

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Town of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts commands the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Tenth Massachusetts Congressional District, and both Senators for Massachusetts, to oppose all legislation brought before the U.S. House of Representatives that provides further funding of the U.S. warfare and U.S. military occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and the Town of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts also commands them each and all to take strong and forceful action to influence the full U.S. House of Representatives and the full Senate to terminate existing occupation and military operations.

Submitted by Petition

HEREIN FAIL NOT AND GIVE PUBLIC NOTICE BY CAUSING THIS NOTICE TO BE POSTED IN TWO(2) OR MORE PLACES IN THE TOWN AT LEAST FOURTEEN (14) DAYS BEFORE THE TIME OF SAID MEETING AND MAKE DUE RETURN OF THIS WARRANT WITH YOUR DOINGS TO THE TOWN CLERK AT THE TIME AND PLACE SPECIFIED.

GIVEN UNDER OUR HANDS THIS 22nd DAY OF MARCH, 2011

Duncan Ross, Chairman

Gail Barmakian

Kathleen Burton

Gregory A. Coogan

Ronald L. DiOrio