Chilmark would hike spending 8%
School costs, road repairs, cell phone reception and national policy will be among the topics addressed when Chilmark voters gather for their annual town meeting later this month. Chilmarkers face a $417,091 increase in the town’s overall operating budget, an eight percent hike mostly fueled by the cost of town employee salaries, benefits, and insurance.
Voters take up the 37-article annual town meeting warrant at 7:30 pm Monday evening, April 26, in the Chilmark Community Center.
Two days later, on Wednesday, April 28, Chilmark voters will head to the polls located in the community center between noon and 8 pm to elect town officers and take action on eight ballot questions.
Chilmark voters will be asked to approve six separate Prop 2.5 override questions totaling more than $585,000.
In the largest Prop. 2.5 override, question four asks voters to approve $176,555 to fund the town’s assessment for the Up-Island Regional School District and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.
Question five asks voters to approve $92,639 to fund the town’s operating budget.
Other ballot questions include $47,435 meant to enhance emergency medical services; $13,096 for the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority; and $5,663 to increase library staff hours.
Voters will also be asked to pay for a bond to construct a cap for the Tabor House Road landfill. A corresponding warrant article sets a maximum amount of $250,000.
But Warren Doty, Chilmark selectman, said that figure will be amended on town meeting floor to approximately $100,000 based on a low bid received by the town.
Question eight asks voters to weigh in on national affairs and oppose the USA Patriot Act as part of an Island-wide grassroots effort to restrict implementation of provisions of the anti-terrorism legislation.
In the town’s only electoral contest, J.B. Riggs Parker, 70, a retired corporate attorney and former Vineyard Steamship Authority member, will vie with Mary Murphy Boyd, 25, a second-grade teacher at the West Tisbury School for a three-year seat on the Chilmark board.
Town Budget Rises
The Chilmark operating budget for fiscal year 2005, which begins July 1, 2004, is $5,378,198 and represents more than an eight percent increase over the 2004 budget.
The biggest hit comes in the form of benefits for town employees, the cost of which has grown from $525,469 to $593,226, a 13 percent increase. The largest share of that is a jump in retirement costs, from $122,071 to $173,376.