West Tisbury Town Meeting: $13 million
West Tisbury voters gather Tuesday to consider a 45-article annual town meeting warrant and a $13 million operating budget for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The annual town meeting begins at 7 pm in the West Tisbury School.
On Thursday, voters go to the polls from noon to 8 pm at the West Tisbury Public Safety Building. The one ballot question asks whether the town should continue to elect or appoint the town clerk.
In the three contested races, Jemima James and Tara Whiting are running for a one-year term as town clerk; Incumbent Michael Colaneri, chairman of the board of assessors, faces a challenge from Jonathan Revere for a three-year term as assessor; and Sarah L. Carr, Harvey W. Garneau Jr., Melissa M. Hackney, and Isaac D. Russell will vie for two seats on the library board of trustees.
Last week long-time town moderator Patrick Gregory previewed the warrant with selectmen. He said that the complexity and length of the warrant might result in a two-day annual town meeting for the second time in 15 years.
Cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for town employees, a new wind turbine zoning bylaw, changes to the town's existing affordable housing bylaws, and a proposal to move from an elected to an appointed town clerk are expected to spur considerable discussion.
Topping the warrant is the question of salary increases for town employees. Selectmen and the finance committee have recommended a two percent COLA. The personnel board recommended a 3.6 percent increase. The difference is nearly $28,000, resulting in a fiscal year 2010 budget of either $12,972,112 or $13,000,355.
Several articles relate to affordable housing. Voters will be asked to authorize a conservation restriction on seven parcels held by the Stoney Hill Farms Homeowner Trust in exchange for a parcel of land to be held for affordable housing purposes, provide $66,000 in rental subsidies and $170,000 to reduce the price of two homes in the planned affordable housing complex at 250 State Road.
Article 19 proposes a number of amendments to the town's zoning bylaws governing multi-family housing. The changes are intended to align the language with both the Martha's Vineyard Affordable Housing Needs Covenant granted to Dukes County Regional Housing Authority (DCRHA) and to adopt income and inheritance guidelines determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Voters will be asked to expand a District of Critical Planning Concern to include portions of seven roads. They will also be asked to approve regulations governing a special ways zone, described as 20 feet from the centerline of a designated special way, intended to protect selected roadways.