Tisbury annual heads into second night

Tisbury annual heads into second night

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Town meeting moderator Deborah Medders asked those present if they would like to continue the meeting until Wednesday evening. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Tisbury voters wrapped up special town meeting Tuesday night, but not the annual meeting that followed.

Issues still to be addressed include a $23,186,156 operating budget for fiscal year 2015 (FY15), capital appropriations and new equipment, embarkation fund expenditures, and Community Preservation Act projects.

A total of 183 voters, 83 more than needed for a quorum, turned out to take action on a total of 57 articles on the special and annual town meeting warrants. Town meeting moderator Deborah Medders asked them to return Wednesday night at 7 pm to take up 21 articles left on the annual town meeting warrant.

Voters worked their way through the 22 articles on the special town warrant in a marathon session that lasted about two hours. They kept the momentum going as they tackled several lengthy zoning bylaw changes, as well as a proposal by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to create an Island-wide district of critical planning concern to regulate fertilizer use.

Tisbury town meeting crowd.
Tisbury town meeting crowd.

The voters agreed with all but two of the zoning bylaw changes. They rejected an article that would amend deep lot provisions and tabled another that would restrict accessory structures for property owners in the R-3A district. The vote was unanimous to approve the fertilizer article.

At the conclusion of special town meeting at 9:03 pm, Ms. Medders gave voters a five-minute recess before they went to work on the annual meeting’s 35 articles.

Among the 14 articles voters took action on, they agreed to allow the town to borrow $125,000 for an automated parking fee system at the Park and Ride lot, and approved $60,000 to fund improvements at the Spring Street parking lot and $8,000 for repairs to the chimney and roof of the Tisbury Senior Center.

At 10:05 pm, Ms. Medders asked voters if they would like to recess the meeting until Wednesday night and called for a standing vote. The motion was approved by the weary, 88 to 45.

The 183 meeting attendees represented about 5.7 percent of the town’s 3,207 registered voters.


  1. I’m not sure exactly why Tisbury has found itself $1.7 million in debt for FY15. But whatever the reasons, before we as taxpayers approve a 2 1/2% override, couldn’t/ SHOULDN’T the town first try to offset the shortfall in operating costs by other avenues? If the projected under budgeted departments are truly running as fiscally tight as reported in the front page article April 24th I suggest increases in revenue generating fees, if that cannot drop the FY15 shortfall enough to get under the 2 1/2% it would at least reduce it significantly enough that Tisbury could then come to “us” with a reduced budget shortfall. An increase to shellfish licenses, as well as all other town issued permits, moorings, and if we don’t already, designating a portion of the Park and Ride, proportional to what is currently used by commercial vehicles, as flat rate yearly based could be a starting point. I believe the Tisbury shellfish permit fee is $35, a 100% increase minimum would not be outrageous, I do not know what a yearly mooring fee is, $125?, but I would propose a 100% increase minimum there as well. For those on the commercial side of both of these it is a tax deductible write off, and with the waiting list such as it is for a mooring, I would not worry to much if some current mooring owners dropped their ownership option. “We” just increased a Parking ticket fine from $15 to $25 so there is a start to common sense when the Town of Tisbury is looking for money it spent and didn’t have. I would also suggest when “we” are looking for capital, the town does not need $28,000 for a vehicle to be stored in Woods Hole for town employees on off island jaunts, work related or otherwise! There, I just saved “us” $28K that can be deducted from “our” $1.7mill. shortfall. Putting the Tisbury schools $185K shortfall in the 2 1/2 proposal seems inappropriate when “we” will be looking for a new school building shortly, why should we increase “our” tax rate with that figure involve? I propose line iteming that figure and approving it on a yearly bases, as the schools operating costs will be completely different once “we” figure out which way the Town will go in regards to that building. With 4 children, 1 who already went through the Tisbury school system and 3 currently in it, I would opt for a new building completely! I am never in favor of 2 1/2 increases, it tells me those who approved past expenditures and Other Post Operating Employee Benefits, OPEBS, be it us voters or otherwise, were not thinking beyond the here and now. To ask “us” for money without trying to raise or find cuts elsewhere is beyond my comprehension. I don’t have much say, beyond my vote when I am allowed, in how money is spent at the State and Federal level, but “we” would be foolish if “we” let “our” FY15 problem get passed as it is being presented at the moment.

    1. good comment. The overage is partly due to the over the top costs for dredging, which we badly needed. I hope the town will vote to dredge more often in the future. That being said, it is irresponsible to run up such a debt.
      Come to town meeting to discuss your concerns, or, as my mother used to say, “Speak now, or forever hold your peace.”

    2. lol you are just as bad lets raise everything else so i (meaning you) dont have to pay more !! talk about overage 1.7 million just for the tisbury police department GIVE ME A BREAK !!! think we should start the cuts there!!

      1. The suggested fee increases I suggested affect me as well, not sure what your point is. As far as I’m concerned I think they are to low as they are now. When any town has a shortfall it should consider every option available to balance a budget. I forgot to mention future wage increases. I would also propose freezing all public salaries for at least the next 2 yrs. If that could not be done then as a town we would be forced to start considering cuts. I am trying to show possible ways to lower what is proposed to us as tax payers. Your only proposal is to cut the entire police force to balance the short fall? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

        1. Point to me. I can take it. As a member of the school, freezing salaries for the town employees, I am not including me in this thought, but freezing the very people that oversee the budget and the way people spend is assbackwards to me. They save Tisbury more money in a year than their small increase would be for two years. So your argument is off. Secondly, the overide had little to do with dredging. That money appears to be minimal raised from taxes but more from waterways fund and embarkation. Once again, point at me, a public school employee. Most of the override has to do with the school. Vote the override down at the ballot and you hurt the schools so I encourage you to vote for the overrride. FYI Mlaursen, deborah medders isn’t that pretty.

          1. Ya I caught heat for that off the cuff remark when I had lunch with my 1st grader this afternoon! I wish to retract my earlier comment and limit cuts to those in line that are currently making at or above the median income for our geographic location, not sure what that number is, but I’d say approx. $60k. Thank you to all of you at the Tisbury school for teaching and helping our children grow.

          2. lee evryone can now see ignorence… putting words in peoples mouths is not polite you my friend are the only one that takes words out of context when did anyone say the entire police force??!?!? oh i forgot im talkin to lee

          3. “We” as a town approved almost every budget increase request on Wednesday night 4/30, and when faced with a 2.5 override even approved a special interest “donation” of 50K!! It amazes me that I’m the one considered ignorant.