In Tisbury annual meeting sequel, connector road fails once more

Voters shown here busy on Tuesday night were asked to return Wednesday night. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Tisbury voters said no a second time to funding construction of a connector road, in a second session of the annual town meeting reconvened Wednesday evening at the Tisbury School gymnasium.

At the first session the night before, voters rejected an article to approve borrowing $3 million for the road, to link Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road with State Road via Holmes Hole Road and High Point Lane initially. A third leg on Evelyn Road would be developed later.

There were a few gasps and some murmurs in the audience when selectman Jeffrey Kristal called for a motion to reconsider the connector road article about a half hour into the meeting. If voters agreed, he suggested amending the dollar amount in the article to $1.6 million to fund part of the construction.

“We considered that as an amendment last night,” Peter Goodale reminded Mr. Kristal.

“The rules allow us to do it again,” Mr. Kristal responded.

Since the vote pertained to a borrowing article, town moderator Deborah Medders called for a standing vote. Mr. Kristal’s motion to reconsider failed 69-46 to achieve a two-thirds majority.

Asked after the meeting what prompted his action, Mr. Kristal said, “I thought there was a lot of discussion last night about the $1.6 million, and when that amendment failed, and then subsequently the original article failed, I just wanted to try to bring it up and do the one-six.”

Mr. Kristal said, since department of public works director Fred LaPiana plans to go back to the state again to ask for funding, a vote by the town to partially construct the connector road would have demonstrated to state officials that Tisbury is committed to the project.

“And I think it says a lot that we actually attained a majority on the article, last night and tonight; we just didn’t achieve the two-thirds necessary,” Mr. Kristal said. “I think we only missed the two-thirds by seven votes tonight, which we needed to bring the article back up. It’s unfortunate, but I know Fred will continue his efforts with the state, and we’ll continue to fight for the town of Tisbury to get funds to make this work.”

Voters wrapped up the remaining 16 of 33 annual town meeting articles in about two hours. Other than the connector road, they approved every question. Among the most significant articles, voters agreed to borrow $1.25 million to construct a second water storage tank and to spend $225,000 toward a plan and design for an additional wastewater plant effluent site.

They also approved using $596,750 from the town’s local receipts from Community Preservation Act funds toward projects that include replacement of town hall’s windows, preservation of historic town hall permanent records, a scenic view easement study for the Tashmoo overlook on State Road, and construction of bike path from Beach Road to Veterans Park.

Ms. Medders reconvened the meeting at 7:07 pm with a quorum of 100 voters, plus one. A total of 130 attended, which is about 4.4 percent of the town’s 2,929 registered voters.