Chilmark special town meeting is Monday

Menemsha, and a bit of Aquinnah, lies across Menemsha Creek from Lobsterville. Officials from the two towns are trying to sort out the taxing puzzle. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Chilmark voters will be asked to assemble for a special town meeting Monday, December 9, and take action on a list of last-minute financial housekeeping transactions, help clean up a messy boundary that puts the Aquinnah town line through a Menemsha fish shack, and fund a new floor for the community center.

The meeting begins at 7:30 pm in the Chilmark Community Center. There are 15 articles on the special town meeting warrant.

Menemsha Harbor will be the focus of much of the action. Voters will be asked to appropriate $24,000 from the Waterways Improvement Fund to replace the 8-foot by 6-foot shack used as an office by the harbor department. Town administrator Tim Carroll said the office is too small and in poor shape. A replacement is needed he said, where harbormaster Dennis Jason can adequately work.

The same fund would be tapped for $3,000 to install chain anchors to the commercial and residential floating docks off the West Dock.

The largest spending article of the night is a request for $55,000 to purchase and install replacement pilings in Menemsha Harbor. The money is in existing accounts.

A request to change the town boundary line between Chilmark and Aquinnah that bisects several Menemsha fish shack lots will not be put to voters on December 9. Mr. Carroll said the Aquinnah assessor recently began assessing the town’s partial interests in several properties shared by both towns. In an unusual arrangement that has been the source of past friction, the town of Aquinnah owns a triangular piece of land that juts across the creek and into Menemsha Harbor, giving that town control over six leases, three on each side of the spit that begins at the end of North Road by the Galley restaurant and ends at the Coast Guard dock.

The land was deeded by the state to both towns in 1965 with the stipulation it be “reserved for and made available to commercial fishermen.” That legislation exempted the lots from public bidding regulations so the town could lease the desirable lots for very low rents.

The requested change, which must be approved by both towns and the state legislature, would have the boundary follow the existing lot lines and end bisected lots.

“It’s just a little bit of a mess,” Mr. Carroll said. “We’re going to try and line it up with the existing lease lines.”


Voters will only have to look under their feet to consider a request from available funds for $38,000 to replace the wood floor in the Community Center. In an associated article voters will be asked to appropriate $5,500 to insulate the floor of the Community Center.

The Community Center is not the only town building receiving some attention. Voters will be asked for $5,000 to fund repairs to the HVAC system at the town hall.

In a related article, they will be asked to appropriate $6,000 to purchase two fireproof file cabinets for storing permanent town records.

In other business, voters will be asked to appropriate $55,000 from available funds to fund the state mandated triennial re-evaluation of real property; appropriate $100,000 from available funds to continue the funding of OPEB obligations; transfer up to $30,000 previously approved to purchase and equip a replacement car for the Tri-Town Ambulance service; appropriate $18,000 to pay for tree work and brushcutting along town roads; appropriate $5,000 to purchase and install replacement road-side concrete posts; and in a non-spending request, voters will be asked to adopt the provisions of Section 9A of Chapter 200A of the Massachusetts General Laws allowing an alternative procedure for disposing of abandoned funds held in the custody of the town.