The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) voted last week to approve a $1,455,478 operating budget for the 2015 fiscal year (FY). The amount reflects a nearly 10 percent increase over the fiscal year 2014 budget, which also included a 10 percent increase over the previous year. The budget goes into effect July 1, 2014.
The Thursday vote was approved, 13-1, with one abstention from West Tisbury commissioner Erik Hammarlund who arrived late. Josh Goldstein of Tisbury voted against the budget.
The increase will be reflected in the MVC assessment taxpayers will confront at annual town meeting this spring as a line item over which they will have no control. Once approved by the commission, towns are legally obligated to pay the assessment. Because Edgartown is the Island’s largest town in terms of real estate value, it will see the largest increase, approximately $48,000.
The MVC budget hike is fueled by an increase in overall costs, which include legal fees and salaries ($55,128) and a one-time reimbursement of $75,000 to the depleted MVC general reserve fund in keeping with MVC policies, according to notes that accompany the draft fiscal year 2015 budget. The commission maintains the general reserve fund “to cover urgent, unforeseen expenses during the course of the year.”
The commission depleted the general reserve fund in FY 2012 and FY 2013, MVC executive director Mark London said, due to unforeseen expenses that included legal fees and state-mandated contributions to the Dukes County Contributory Retirement system.
Clarification: This story was updated to include the name of Josh Goldstein.