Lacking quorum, Aquinnah pushes special town meeting to September

The Aquinnah special town meeting scheduled for 7 pm, Tuesday, July 12 was rescheduled to September 25 when the town failed to achieve a quorum.

A total of 39 voters was needed. By 7:30 pm, 34 voters had assembled in the Old Town Hall on State Road, and moderator Mike Hebert announced that it would be moved to September.

The three-article warrant included a request to raise and appropriate $25,909 to complete the town’s one-third share of funding for the 2012 fiscal year Tri-town Ambulance budget.

The Tri-town assessment formula for the ambulance force splits the cost evenly between Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury. That has been a sore point in the past with Aquinnah voters and town officials who point to a disparity in calls between the up-Island towns.

The Tri-town budget called for the town’s ambulance service assessment to increase from $104,269 to $160,278. The jump in funding was part of a larger effort to transition the ambulance service from a largely volunteer to a professional force.

At the request of selectmen, Aquinnah voters at annual town meeting reduced the assessment to $134,360.

Since that vote, Tri-town hired a new director, and there have been discussions among Aquinnah selectmen and their counterparts. As a result, the selectmen now support the request for funding.