Oak Bluffs selectmen approve warrant, $24.1 million budget


Oak Bluffs selectmen approved an 18-article annual town meeting warrant, and a seven-article special town meeting warrant at their Tuesday meeting.

The town meetings are scheduled for April 10 at the Oak Bluffs School.

The annual town meeting warrant includes a $24.1 million operating budget, with a 1.5-percent cost of living increase for town employees.

The warrant includes a request by the community preservation committee to fund four projects totaling $233,953. They include East Chop Bluff preservation, restoration of Untied Methodist Church stained glass windows, Martha’s Vineyard Museum collection preservation, and rental assistance for 18 subsidized apartments in Oak Bluffs.

Town meeting voters will also debate an article submitted by citizens petition asking whether voters support a roundabout at the intersection of Barnes Road and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven road. A citizens petition to place the question on the town election ballot failed because it did not have the required 300 signatures, town administrator Bob Whritenour said.

The warrant will also ask voters to double fines for a variety of civil infractions including drinking alcohol in public, creating too much noise, playing ball in the street, and skinny-dipping.

Tuesday night Oak Bluffs Housing Trust trustees, which include selectmen and members of the affordable housing committee, voted to fund an affordable housing inventory, at a cost of $6,750, and repair roofing on two affordable properties, at a cost of $45,000.

Voters previously approved $300,000 to fund the trust. While approval of individual projects is not required, selectmen agreed to add a warrant article calling for a report from the housing trust, which will explain the expenditures.

In other business Tuesday night, selectmen also accepted a bid from Mason Fortier to operate a private launch service in Oak Bluffs Harbor.

The town has operated its own launch service in previous years, but increasing maintenance costs and new Coast Guard regulations prompted the town to seek bids from private services.

Mr. Fortier, who operated the town launch for the past six years, submitted the only bid.

Under terms of the contract approved by selectmen, he will pay a $5,000 fee for the exclusive right to operate a launch service and use town dock space.

In other action, selectmen approved creation of a new parking lot off Pacific Avenue, behind the Catholic Parish Center.

Selectmen said they would encourage local merchants to have their employees park in the new lot, and walk or shuttle to the downtown business district.