Tisbury selectmen relish Green Community status, and grant

Tisbury energy committee member Peter Cabana, left, presented a mock check for a Green Communities grant from the State to selectmen Jeff Kristal, Tristan Israel, and Jon Snyder at their meeting Tuesday night. — Photo by Janet Hefler

Peter Cabana, a member of Tisbury’s energy committee, presented the Tisbury selectmen with a facsimile of a check on Tuesday in the amount of $140,925 from the state. The sum is an energy efficiency grant the town got for becoming a Green Community under state law.

Mr. Cabana, the Dukes County representative to Cape Light Compact and Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, gave a long and detailed account of the work he and energy committee members Chris Fried, Henry Stephenson, and Marnie Stanton did, along with town administrator John Bugbee, summer intern Wesley Look, and others over the last several years, to complete Tisbury’s application process.

The Green Communities grant allows the town to use 10 percent of the money for administrative services, and the selectmen asked Mr. Cabana to be the grant administrator. He agreed.

Department reports

Selectmen approved Police Chief Daniel Hanavan’s request to appoint Jeffrey Day of Chilmark and Jason Hallett of Tisbury as special police officers, and Stephen Nichols as a crossing guard, until June 30, 2013.

Officer Day attended the meeting with Chief Hanavan. Mr. Hallett, a Tisbury EMT, was unable to attend because he was on duty.

Officer Day was a Wampanoag Tribe natural resources ranger before he joined the Chilmark Police department as a special police officer in 1999. He was appointed a full-time patrolman there in 2004.

Officer Day resigned from the Chilmark Police Department this month. In a phone conversation with The Times yesterday, Mr. Day declined to comment on his decision to leave Chilmark. Officer Day said he applied for a job in Tisbury because of “career opportunities.” In addition to police work, for several years he has volunteered as an instructor for a state-certified hunter safety class.

“I have known him for quite a few years, and he is a good guy,” Chief Hanavan told The Times in a phone conversation yesterday. “He has great background and training and is an EMT, and will offer a lot to our department.”

In an update on the emergency services facility (ESF), building chairman Joe Tierney said the ambulance department is already operating out of the new building. Although issues with general contractor Seaver Corporation persist, Mr. Tierney said the move was required by the schedule for the installation of the ambulance department’s new phone system. Once Verizon installed it, the old system at the police station had to be disconnected.

Mr. Tierney said there would be a “pavement summit” meeting on Thursday with Seaver and the ESF building committee, at which time remaining repair issues and punch list items will also be discussed.

“Once that’s done, the fire department move will be imminent, but it’s at least two weeks away,” Mr. Tierney said.

As suggested by ambulance coördinator Jeffrey Pratt, the selectmen approved the formation of a search committee to find his replacement. Mr. Pratt plans to retire sometime between October and January. In addition to Mr. Pratt, the committee includes Chief Hanavan, Fire Chief John Schilling, town administrator John Bugbee, and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital emergency medicine director Dr. Jeffrey Zack.

Mr. Pratt, age 59, has worked with the Tisbury Police Volunteer Ambulance Service for 15 years. He has been a member of the service since 1989 and a volunteer with the Tisbury Fire Department since 1985.

“I have other projects and endeavors I’m committed to and dedicated to, and it’s getting difficult to balance everything,” Mr. Pratt said in a phone conversation with The Times yesterday. “My decision to retire is one that my family and I have been thinking about for some time.” Mr. Pratt said he does plan to continue his work with the ambulance service and fire department, once retired.

Tashmoo Beach ownership

During the discussion session, selectmen approved a letter to the Dukes County commissioners asking to talk about the county’s 13.3 percent ownership share of Tashmoo Beach. Asked if their intention is to acquire complete ownership to create a private town beach, selectman Jeff Kristal said that was not the case.

“It’s just cleaner; it then puts the onus on us without looking for reimbursement from the county,” he said. “The county is not doing anything down there; it’s already known as the town beach. We just want ownership of it, then we can go out for grants and everything else, because we will have full ownership of it.”

Selectman chairman Tristan Israel said Dukes County assisted the town with the purchase of Tashmoo Beach in the 1970s by paying for a 13.3 percent share. About 15 years later, Mr. Israel said the commissioners turned down Tisbury’s request to relinquish the county’s part of the beach and said they would pay their share of maintenance costs. Bills were sent but not paid, Mr. Israel said, and it’s been an ongoing issue. In 1997, town meeting voters agreed to appropriate $10,000 towards the purchase the 13.3 percent share.

Mr. Israel said the original impetus to acquire the county’s share was to create a beach for Tisbury residents that operates on an honor system.

“On a weekend, I don’t drive down there, because I know there’s no way I’m going to find a parking space,” Mr. Israel said. “I’m glad people from out of town and from out of state enjoy that beach, but it’s hard for residents of Tisbury. And if people feel it should be open to everyone, then I agree. But I would also maintain, then, so should Lambert’s Cove and Lucy Vincent and all the rest of them.”

In other business, department of public works chief Fred LaPiana reported that Comcast negotiations have again come to a standstill and that the Island’s negotiations committee would like to discuss the issues at the All-Island Selectmen’s meeting on September 13.