Edgartown selectmen discuss ambulance costs, Captain Warren House

Edgartown selectmen addressed shade trees, a new stop sign, Chappy ferry delays, and ambulance supplies at their weekly meeting on Tuesday, October 15. And finally, after 10 years, they disposed of the Captain Warren House.

Selectmen signed a purchase and sale agreement with Chestnut Hill resident Jeffrey Wolk, who plans to turn the deteriorated building into a private residence. On September 23, selectmen voted to accept an all-cash $2.5 million offer from Mr. Wolk. Town administrator Pamela Dolby told selectmen the town had received the required deposit of $10,000.

The town bought the house for $3.5 million in 2004. In addition to the loss of $1 million on the sale price, the town has paid close to $2.5 million in principal and interest since the purchase, according to town treasurer Pam Amaral.

Ambulance supplies

Also Monday, selectmen asked town administrator Pam Dolby to assist ambulance coordinator Alex Schaefer in drafting a letter to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to request the hospital continue to fund a one-for-one medical exchange program the hospital plans to end on January 1, 2014.

Now, ambulance crews replenish supplies from the hospital emergency room (ER) stocks, including IV equipment, oxygen masks, and ice packs.

“As long as I’ve been an EMT, we have used some of the supplies in the hospital on the ambulance, that they continue At a monthly emergency services meeting October 9, the hospital’s emergency department advised him that they would no longer be funding the supplies replenishment, he added.

Mr. Schaefer said that approximately $2,800 worth of supplies were used in the one-for-one exchange from January to July and around $8,500 for the entire fiscal year.

“We’re in pretty good shape to try and get things in order for next year’s budget to be able to supplement the cost of that,” Mr. Schaefer said. “But, as you can imagine, January 1 being in the middle of this year’s budget makes it difficult for us to incur any kind of additional costs.”

Hospital CEO Tim Walsh told The Times that the hospital is making the change in order to better control ER inventory and billing procedures. He said the hospital would continue to work with ambulance crews.

Stop

In other news, Edgartown selectmen approved a new stop sign on the corner of Cooke Street and South Water Street.

Edgartown highway superintendent Stuart Fuller presented selectmen with the details. “There’s very little sight visibility, there’s just a lot going on,” Mr. Fuller told selectmen. He said the new stop sign is a safety precaution.

Selectman Margaret Serpa said she is hesitant to add a new sign. “I’m reluctant to put up another that’s going to mean nothing,” she said. “I’ll support it, but it just annoys me that the stop signs are not adhered to.”

Tree hearing

Selectmen granted a request by Chappaquiddick resident Geoffrey Kontje to remove two public shade trees from 249 Chappaquiddick Road.

Mr. Kontje asked selectmen for permission to remove the trees, an oak and a pine, because they run the risk of interfering with power lines that serve his house.

“I’ve asked for the removal of these trees because both of them threaten the power line that comes across the road and into my house,” he said.

Mr. Kontje said he will replace the trees with an ornamental cherry tree, which grows lower to the ground.

NSTAR catches flak

NSTAR representatives Jerry McDermott and Karen Corriveau appeared before selectmen Monday to discuss a new, controversial 45-foot pole erected on South Summer Street recently and the trees trimmed in connection with several pole projects.

Town administrator Pam Dolby said she had contacted NSTAR after being bombarded with complaints from several South Summer Street abutters.

“I contacted Jerry McDermott and Karen Corriveau because of a new pole that was put in downtown which had the neighborhood in an uproar,” Ms. Dolby said. “We’ve had numerous complaints about the trim job. We think we’re going to lose a number of trees because of the job that was done.”

Mr. McDermott said the new, larger pole is necessary to adequately supply power to the area.

“The new pole that was set on South Summer is bigger than the pole that was there,” Mr. McDermott said. “The simple fact is that when some of these smaller homes get renovated, expanded or get knocked down and get replaced with these mini mega-mansions, they do require more power to them.”

Selectman Margaret Serpa suggested that NSTAR call the town as a courtesy before placing any new poles, moving forward.

Chappy Ferry delays

Chappaquiddick ferry owner Peter Wells plans to haul On Time III, the larger his two ferries, on October 20, for necessary maintenance and repairs.

“Since the smaller of the two ferries will be doing all of the work and by itself carries only one third as many vehicles as the two ferries working together, then people should expect to wait in line three times longer than usual,” Mr. Wells wrote in an email to The Times.

Mr. Wells said he’s been distributing fliers to ferry users to prepare them for delays, and he hopes to have the ferry back in service by October 30. However, it could be out of service for a longer period if unexpected repairs are needed, he added.

For up-to-the-minute Chappy ferry information, call the recorded hotline at 508-627-6965.

Police chief contract

At their regular weekly meeting on September 30, with little discussion and much praise, Edgartown selectmen renewed police Chief Tony Bettencourt’s contract for another three years. The contract, which has changed little over the years, pegs the chief’s salary to the salary of the highest paid patrolman on the veteran police force.

In response to a request by The Times, town officials confirmed that Mr. Bettencourt will earn $167,769 in fiscal 2014. That figure includes longevity pay tied to Mr. Bettencourt’s more than 40 years on the force.

On August 8, 2010, selectmen appointed Mr. Bettencourt to head the department where he began his career as a patrolman in the town where he was born.