Oak Bluffs police chief Erik Blake outlined for selectmen Tuesday the service cuts he plans, in response to budget cutbacks and the defeat in April of a Proposition 2.5 override question. That Prop. 2.5 question asked voters for $96,980 to restore cuts made in the current fiscal year that ends on June 30.
Chief Blake said the budget cuts will mean unpaid furloughs for some officers. “We’re facing furloughing an officer for a minimum of 31 weeks,” Chief Blake said.
He said he has also begun contacting local organizations to let them know that police will not be able to provide the level of service they once did. Among those affected will be local road races, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and the Steamship Authority, he said.
Also Tuesday, the selectmen held a public hearing on new proposed taxi regulations. Several taxi drivers and owners who attended objected strenuously to some of the new regulations, including a provision that calls for proof of insurance in the amount of $250,000 per accident, $500,000 per policy, and $250,000 property insurance.
They also objected to a new regulation governing surcharges for late night fares. Now, many companies double their fares in the overnight hours. Hours and the fares differ among companies. The new regulations propose a $5 surcharge per trip, not per passenger, for up to two hours after bars close.
Selectmen voted to table any vote on the new regulations, until they can explore the cost of higher insurance and other factors.
The regulations are being considered in all Island towns.