Finance update tops Oak Bluffs selectmen’s business

Oak Bluffs selectmen got an update on town finances, began shaping the warrant for a special town meeting, and appointed a search committee for a permanent town administrator, at their Tuesday meeting.

Interim town administrator Bob Whritenour outlined a series of budget cuts for the current fiscal year.

The cuts total $274,717, and come from projected savings in salaries, insurance, and travel costs. The largest cuts are from planned savings in health insurance costs ($50,000), the elimination of an assistant librarian position ($45,000), and a freeze on any non-mandated travel or training ($41,717).

Mr. Whritenour said the town is making progress, but has a long way to go in cleaning up its finances.

“There are issues popping up every day,” Mr. Whritenour said. “We’re on a very tight time frame to get the property tax rate certified and get tax bills out on time January 1.”

Voters will be asked to approve the budget trimming at a special town meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 8.

Selectmen also briefly discussed other articles planned for the special town meeting. Voters will decide whether to transfer funds for a harbor dredging project, whether they want to turn off about 20 percent of the town’s street lights to save money, and whether the town should join the Cape and Vineyard Energy Cooperative.

The board appointed seven people to a screening committee to review applicants for the town administrator’s job.

On the committee are retired Judge William O’Brien, Esther Hopkins, Kerry Alley, Bill McGrath, Luke DeBettencourt, Gretchen Coleman Thomas, and Patricia Tankard.