Edgartown selectmen race the clock on tax rate

— File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown selectmen voted Monday to continue their practice of taxing all residential, commercial, and open space property at the same rate. The vote followed a brief public hearing, and presentation from the board of assessors,

Principal assessor Joanne Rezendes said the state has given preliminary approval for a tax rate of $3.43 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. The new tax rate is three cents higher than last year.

The town is down to the wire in setting the tax rate and sending out bills.

“You’ll see the state has been a little tardy in supporting the towns,” assessor Alan Gowell said.

Selectmen are concerned that any further delay could force the town into short-term borrowing to meet its obligations.

“We don’t want to have to borrow money,” selectman Margaret Serpa said. “It will put us in an unfortunate position for future bonding.”

Also Monday, Selectmen were set to open bids to build a distributed antenna system (DAS) on Chappaquiddick, but were disappointed that no bids arrived.

The DAS system would extend mobile telephone coverage to Chappaquiddick.

Following the meeting, however, town administrator Pam Dolby discovered one bid arrived by delivery truck while the board met. Selectmen will open the bid at next week’s meeting.

Selectmen accepted a bid from Atlas Fireworks to stage the town’s annual July 4th show. The contract is for two years, with the town’s option for a third year.

Chappy Ferry owner Peter Wells and publisher Jan Pogue presented selectmen with a copy of “The Chappy Ferry Book,” and asked them to support a book launch event on July 1 at the Old Sculpin Gallery.

Among the invited guests are all past ferry owners, and the widow of Manuel Schwartz Roberts, who was involved in the design and building of some early ferries from his shop where the Old Sculpin Gallery is now.

This article reflects a correction. The date of the book launch party for “The Chappy Ferry Book” is July 1, not June 1.