No tax dollars for ACE MV


To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Barney Zeitz’s letter  [A reasonable request, April 16]. I believe Mr. Zeitz owes me an apology for his remarks about my being irresponsible in citing [No taxpayer funds for ACE MV, April 9] ACE MV’s monetary request to the towns to be partially spent on benefits. Please read the article entitled ACE MV Reaches Out to Taxpayers for Money to Supplement Budget in the Martha’s Vineyard Times, November 6, 2013. The ACE MV director specifically states money is to go to salaries, wages and benefits for the executive director, an assistant executive director, and a part-time executive assistant.

According to the article, ACE MV took in $123,773 in 2013 (2014 budget was not available for the report). Expenses were $37,239 for teachers; salaries and wages were for one full-time and one part-time worker were $80,492 and other expenses $17,259. Please note: $43,000 is listed as in-kind pay?

By its own accounting, ACE MV ran a deficit of $2,675, or a loss of $45,675 with in-kind pay?.  Now, ACE MV is asking the towns to fund its program to the tune of $130,587 –  $25,815 from the town of Tisbury alone.  The current town of Tisbury annual warrant shows a figure of $17,433 requested in Article 35 and approved by the town financial committee.

I have a real problem with using any of our town tax dollars to bail out this program. From its own admission, ACE MV’s business plan did not work. Now, it’s in financial distress. How did this request pass the scrutiny of the finance committee? There are so many ways to look at how adults can take classes. By the way, this program is not mandated by the state for towns to provide.

As far as GED programming, currently it is not receiving state funding under ACE MV.  I suggest that the GED program be taken over by the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, and organize the program so it can receive state funding. The MVPS already runs the Martha’s Vineyard Adult Learning Program (MVALP). The infrastructure is already in place to make this an easy and cost-saving transfer of responsibility and get state funds.

Professional courses are available online in almost all disciplines; and, there are numerous Island workshops and classes in a variety of areas: writing, cooking, health and fitness, etc. which people can attend. To me this organization is redundant and unnecessary, as programs already exist in the private sector. I do not believe the taxpayer should be asked to fund the ACE MV’s wish list for funds.

After reading the town of Tisbury annual warrant, I was overwhelmed by the number of items we must or should fund. A Prop 2.5 override is looming, and a new town hall, town school, and MVPS building are on the horizon. I do not think that ACE MV’s request for taxpayer funding meets the test of necessity. Also, as this request for funding is to offset administrative expenses, these expenses will re-occur year after year. At the current rate, in 10 years, ACE MV will be the beneficiary of taxpayer dollars to the tune of  $1,300,000. Wow.

I am very happy Mr. Zeitz has acquired a new skill through ACE MV, which has helped to fulfill your artistic talents. I hope he has and will continue to donate generously and often to the ACE MV cause. But this request is none of the taxpayers’ business and is quite unreasonable.

Myra Post