To the Editor:
Both The MV Times and the Vineyard Gazette had an article on the override last week.
They also included a great deal of financial information, which helped me to look into the issue more thoroughly, and led me to the following observations.
The override was the second one asked for by the Oak Bluffs selectpersons in the past 2 years. It is also being requested in light of Oak Bluffs having the second highest tax rate (second only to Edgartown). While Oak Bluffs has the highest number of tourist events during the summer, the direct proceeds to the town from the events only provide 20 percent of its overall budget.
So what differentiates Oak Bluffs from the other five towns? It has the most expensive fire station and beach protection (North Bluff seawall), and will soon have the most expensive town hall of all the six towns. Also, it seems that it does not utilize many of its opportunities to obtain more funds from tourism, i.e., an extra 1 percent on admissions to attractions, tourist product sales, and marina and steamship docking fees, which should not reduce the number of tourists coming to the Vineyard during the summer. In addition, ticketing for violations of town laws are rarely issued, i.e., unleashed dogs, illegal parking, etc.
Finally, Oak Bluffs taxpayers should consider the meaning of Prop. 2½, considered to be a recommendation for yearly tax increases. Prop. 2½ states that towns can increase taxes by 2.5 percent without a separate town vote. It does not recommend that towns should increase taxes by that amount.
It could make equally good sense not to increase taxes at all in any given year. As a taxpayer in Oak Bluffs, I hope that my fellow taxpayers will consider this letter before voting on the town’s budget this year.