Election 2008 : Tisbury ballot includes Prop 2.5 override for new building planning costs
In addition to the five ballot questions that voters across Martha's Vineyard will answer Tuesday, Tisbury voters will be asked to take action on a sixth ballot question.
Question five on the Tisbury ballot asks voters to authorize the town to exempt funds from proposition 2.5 in order to pay for a bond to cover the cost of architectural and engineering services related to construction of a new emergency services facility (ESF).
The ESF, estimated to cost $6.4 million, would house the fire department, the ambulance service, and provide offices and storage space for emergency management services.
At a special town meeting on September 30, a majority of voters approved using the current town hall annex site at 215 Spring Street across the street from Tisbury School as a location for a new ESF. Subsequently, a two-thirds majority voted in favor of authorizing the town to borrow $640,000 for architectural and engineering services as a first step towards possibly constructing a new facility. Those services include design, planning, project management, oversight, and construction administration.
Town administrator John Bugbee explained this week that $640,000 represents about 10 percent of the entire project cost, based on an estimate in a recent consultant's study. Ten percent is the recommended allocation for design and engineering services, according to state officials and construction industry experts.
Those services include hiring a project manager who helps the town oversee design, construction, and the procurement of related services, which is required under Massachusetts General Law for projects that cost more than $1.5 million.
Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel assured voters at the September town meeting that the selectmen intend to spend as little of the $640,000 as possible at this stage to come up with a design and cost projections for a new ESF to present for a vote at the next annual town meeting.
"If the vote does not pass in the spring, we don't want to be in a position where we've spent the entire allocation for nothing," Mr. Bugbee said this week. "We don't want to spend a lot of money designing a building that won't be constructed, and yet at the same time we don't want to cut corners," he added. "We will do our best to balance the two issues and to come up with a plan and presentation that accurately reflects the cost of the building, hopefully in a manner that does not spend a huge chunk of those funds."
The Tisbury ballot lineup may be cause for some confusion. Rather than place the proposition 2.5 request in the sixth and last position on the ballot, the Secretary of the Commonwealth placed it in the fifth position. As a result, what appears as Question five on the other town ballots, a nonbinding question on health care, appears as Question six on the Tisbury ballot.