Edgartown braces for new round of state budget cuts
Town administrator Pam Dolby told the Edgartown selectmen Monday about a $47,916 shortfall in Edgartown's school budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and a projected shortfall of $168,786 in the town's operating budget for the 2010 fiscal year.
Ms. Dolby said she learned from state officials before the selectmen met that $47,916 the town anticipated in state education funds will be cut, as the state struggles with its own budget. Ms. Dolby also said she's been told to expect $168,786 less than anticipated in local aid funds from the state for the 2010 fiscal year. Local aid is tax revenue returned to towns each year.
The selectmen asked the town administrator to schedule a session with the finance advisory committee to begin making decisions about how to adjust the town's budget to make up for the expected shortfalls.
The participation of town officials who also sit on the boards of affordable housing nonprofit organizations in spending decisions surrounding the Jenny Lane project prompted a request for clarification to town counsel Ron Rappaport.
On Monday Mr. Rappaport delivered a four-page opinion to selectmen. Mr. Rappaport said selectmen had asked whether it was permissible under the state ethics act "for a member of the Community Preservation Committee, or the Affordable Housing Trust Committee, to vote or participate in a decision to grant, or to recommend the grant of, public funds to a non-profit entity on which the committee member serves as a board member."
Mr. Rappaport said, "My answer is no, provided that the non-profit entity seeking public funds is substantially engaged in business activities," as defined by the state ethics commission.
Mr. Rappaport said that would include nonprofits seeking public funds to assist with land acquisition, construction projects, or procurement of housing. He wrote, "It is my opinion that a member of the CPC or Trust Committees is barred from participating in any matter in which either committee decides to award or recommend the award of, public funds to a non profit on which the committee member sits as a board member, unless the non profit entity is not a business organization under the guidelines issued by the Ethics Commission."
In other business, harbormaster Charlie Blair updated the selectmen about the North Wharf fuel dock. Mr. Blair said that the fuel dock is on track to open this weekend, with a limited schedule for the month of June and a more extended schedule for the summer months.
The selectmen granted a seasonal liquor license to A.J. Black, manager of Il Tesoro at the Charlotte Inn.