West Tisbury special town meeting is Tuesday


West Tisbury will hold a special town meeting at 7 pm, June 8, at the West Tisbury School. There are five articles on warrant.

This will be the town’s first special meeting in three years. One hundred fourteen voters will be needed to make a quorum.

“West Tisbury has never had to postpone a town meeting for lack of a quorum, so I am hoping that is not the case this time,” town moderator F. Patrick Gregory told The Times. “Generally, the voters in West Tisbury are very willing to come out for a special meeting.” Neither town administrator Jennifer Rand nor Mr. Gregory expects the meeting to be lengthy.

Voters will be asked to raise $7,160 and transfer from two separate FY2011 line items $28,978 more, to fund the creation of a new part-time administrative assistant position. Mrs. Rand described the job as a “floater,” to be filled by someone who would be able to substitute for other staff members on vacation and lend extra assistance during short-term rush assignments.

Although a new position would be created, the total number of employees remains the same, because the assessor’s office downsized by one position, as a result of computerization.

Also on the warrant are two articles pertaining to the Bailey Park Road affordable housing project, where land was obtained by the town through tax title takings. Both articles aim to make clear that the selectmen will have the authority to sell the property to a selected developer or otherwise dispose of the property, while maintaining it for affordable housing.

“We need to have a special town meeting because the selectmen are the only ones who can dispose of the property and only after a town meeting has approved of the sale. That has never happened,” chairman of the selectmen Richard Knabel told The Times.

Another article modifies the town’s affordable housing trust bylaw to clarify the makeup of the trust board and length of terms. The article would also set what will constitute a quorum during regular meetings as well as when a vote occurs to acquire or dispose of property.

A fifth article may be eliminated the day of the special meeting, if the state legislature fails to enact legislation creating a retirement benefits trust fund. If the legislation is passed, West Tisbury voters will be asked to vote to join the trust. The same article was on the warrant for the annual town meeting in April, but it was withdrawn when the legislature failed to create the trust fund.