TTOR and county reach wage agreement

Dukes County contracts with The Trustees of Reservations to manage county-owned Norton Point Beach - Photo by C.R. Sullivan

The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) employees who work at Norton Point Beach will see incremental wage increases over the next three years under an agreement reached between TTOR and the Dukes County commission last week. Minimum wage for those workers will begin at $13 an hour for this season, and will be raised a dollar each year for the next three years, to $15 an hour.

Last November, county commissioners voted to require all county employees, including those employed by way of contract, be paid no less than $15 an hour. No county employee is currently paid less than $15 an hour. It was not until it came time for the county to renew a three-year contract with TTOR, the private conservation organization that manages county-owned Norton Point Beach, that the $15 wage requirement became an issue.

TTOR superintendent Chris Kennedy estimated that the sudden hike would cost TTOR $20,000 a year.

In a phone conversation with The Times on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kennedy characterized the step increases as a “win-win” for TTOR and Dukes County. He said the negotiation only took 20 minutes. “This agreement started out as an agreement between neighbors, and I think that we’re back on track with the basic premise here,” Mr. Kennedy said.

In addition, TTOR and the county reworked the way TTOR splits its beach permit revenues with the county. Mr. Kennedy said TTOR will pay Dukes County a flat rate of 20 percent of gross income. At the end of each fiscal year (March 31 for TTOR), they will cut the county a check for one-fifth of the income TTOR generated at Norton Point Beach. “This way it’s just so much easier,” Mr. Kennedy said.

TTOR funds Norton Point Beach management costs through the sale of oversand vehicle permits. The annual permit costs $90 for Island residents and $140 for nonresidents. Day permits are $30 and $60 respectively. TTOR has managed Norton Point Beach since 2006. It also owns and/or manages approximately 12 miles of beach and more than 800 acres on Chappaquiddick, extending from the county’s Norton Point Beach to the tip of Cape Poge.