West Tisbury voters quickly took care of business during a special town meeting Tuesday, among other things agreeing to allocate $80,000 to complete construction documents and the design phase for a new police station.
The start of the meeting was delayed 15 minutes due to a lack of quorum, but moderator Patrick Gregory banged the gavel after the required 120 voters shuffled through the doors of the West Tisbury school auditorium.
A total of 124 voters turned out on a cold, rainy night. The first order of business was an article asking for $80,000 to complete planning for the new police station to be built next to the current Public Safety Building on State Road.
The money will be used to complete the final design and construction documents, obtain a final cost estimate, advertise and seek bids and cover any additional site expenses for the new station.
Norm Perry, a member of the police station building committee, said project planners have completed 60 percent of the design phase, including the exterior of the new building.
He said the $80,000 would allow the construction documents to be completed and allow officials to lock in the final price now and bring detailed plans to voters for a final vote at the annual town meeting in April.
“If we didn’t have this meeting we would have to go the April town meeting of next year just to get the bids and of course by then the cost would be extremely high,” he said. “By doing this we are liable to save thousands of dollars.”
The initial estimated cost of the project is between $2.5 and $2.9 million.
The article passed by a near unanimous voice vote.
Voters also easily passed an article to change the language of a previous vote of the 2008 annual town meeting to appropriate a total of $400,000 in community preservation funds for affordable housing at 250 State Road.
The article called for the language of the article to be changed so that it deleted “200 State Road” and replaced it with “250 State Road,” correcting a typo in the language of the original article.
The language was also changed to remove the language calling for covenants ensuring “perpetual affordability” and replace it with language requiring covenants that “the West Tisbury Affordable Housing Committee deems adequate.”
Selectmen chairman Cynthia Mitchell explained that changing the language will allow residents of 250 State Road to refinance their mortgages and in some cases secure a mortgage through a local bank.
Ms. Mitchell said the original article was written at a time when the state department of revenue required covenants for perpetual affordability, but has since agreed the proposed language was acceptable.
“As written, it prevents a homeowner from refinancing and saving hundreds of dollars on their regular payments,” Ms. Mitchell said.
The article passed unanimously.
In other business; voters easily approved an article to appropriate $2,533 to be added to the fiscal year 2013 budget to pay in full the adjusted assessment to the Dukes County retirement fund.
Voters also approved an article to amend the zoning bylaws to move two lots at the intersection of Indian Hill and State Roads from the rural district to the mixed business district.
Voters also approved an article to rescind $5,000 of the unused balance of the $285,000 borrowed to purchase the Field Gallery property. The purchase price was $5,000 less than the amount approved by voters.
Voters also agreed to establish a reserve fund for the future payment of accrued liabilities for compensated absences due any employee of the town upon the termination of the employee’s employment.
Voters also approved an article authorizing selectmen to sell, convey, or otherwise dispose of two parcels off Long Point Road. The parcels are landlocked, surrounded by conservation lands owned by the Trustees of Reservations.
Town treasurer Kathy Logue said the town took the two parcels through foreclosure back in 2009, and the original owners meant to give up these lots to the Trustees but missed them. “They have no value to the town, and in my view it doesn’t make sense to hold on to them,” she said.
Voters also approved an article to transfer $20,000 to the West Tisbury Affordable Housing Trust Fund for future affordable housing purposes that matches $20,000 from proceeds from the sale of an affordable housing lot in Bailey Park.
Voters also approved an article to appropriate $801.46 for the MV Center for Living to fund the Cost of Living adjustment that was not included in the original budget.
The meeting was adjourned just after 7:30 pm, approximately 15 minutes after it started.