Dukes County budget a work in progress

Photo by Michael Cummo

The new fiscal year begins in less than three weeks on July 1, but Dukes County officials do not expect to pass a budget this month. The missing piece, County Manager Martina Thornton told The Times, is the airport’s portion. Without it, she said, the county cannot move forward with budget approval.

Whether or not the county’s budget approval is contingent upon the airport’s fiscal plans depends on who is being asked. The airport is a separate entity with a separate budget.

“We know that we don’t have to be in a rush because without the airport budget, we can’t approve [the county budget] anyway,” Ms. Thornton told The Times.

Sean Flynn, Martha’s Vineyard Airport manager, said this is not correct. Mr. Flynn said that sometimes the county waits for the airport budget before moving forward, but sometimes it doesn’t.

“The airport commission is the appropriating authority for the airport’s budget,” Mr. Flynn said. “We typically make a presentation to the county once the airport commission has gotten through it.”

All sides agree, however, that the numbers have no effect on each other. What the airport proposes does not affect the county’s budget, and the county’s budget does not affect the airport’s budget.

Mr. Flynn told The Times that the airport’s budget is currently drafted, and is scheduled to be discussed at the airport commission’s June 11 meeting. After airport commission approval, the budget is then submitted to the county.

Ms. Thornton said she does not expect to have the 2016 fiscal year budget in place by the end of the month, at which point she says the county and the airport will have to operate at one-twelfth of last year’s approved budget. She does not expect this to hinder county or airport operations. What would be affected, she said, would be any proposed salary raises or new projects — anything that hadn’t already been planned for or approved in the year prior.

As for the county’s budget, Ms. Thornton says the draft is ready to go.

Town assessments are not expected to changed in the upcoming fiscal year, and remain at just under $500,000 in total.