Tisbury votes $6.8 million for a new ESF building
Tisbury voters overwhelmingly approved a Proposition 2.5 override question to authorize the town to borrow funds to construct a new $6.8 million emergency services facility (ESF). The vote was 566 to 398, in a special town election held Tuesday along with the special state primary.
"First of all, I'm very appreciative of the support and confidence from the voters in Tisbury," Fire Chief John Schilling said in a phone call yesterday. "They've been very supportive of the fire and EMS over the years, and we are very grateful for that support Tuesday."
Chief Schilling said that although it was a long process to bring the project to fruition, in the end the town ended up with a better building. "I am so happy with the design and the fact that we were able to incorporate our space that we needed from a functionality standpoint and to be able to include the sustainability engineering, all within a figure that was palatable to the voters," he said.
ESF building committee chairman Joe Tierney, who put in long hours on the project plans, summed up his reaction yesterday to the vote as "relieved."
"It was an exceptional turnout," said Mr. Tierney, a lieutenant in the fire department. "I'm happy that it passed by a good margin, too."
The ESF construction question and four others on the ballot corresponded to borrowing articles approved by voters at a special town meeting on November 17. The new approximately 18,500-square-foot ESF will house the town's fire, ambulance, and emergency management services department.
"We couldn't be more thrilled - and we couldn't be more thankful for the taxpayers' support," ambulance coordinator Jeffrey Pratt said yesterday. "And although it's been a really, really long process - six years - this time around it led to a very unified result, with a consensus reached."
The site planned for the ESF is across the street from Tisbury School on Spring Street, where the town hall annex offices are currently located.
By a vote of 552 to 405, voters also approved an override to borrow $115,000 for costs associated with relocating town hall annex operations such as the health department, planning board, and building and zoning office.
With relocation costs approved, town hall annex employees will be moved temporarily to leased trailers at a site on High Point Lane, near the animal control building.
Mr. Tierney said the ESF building committee was meeting yesterday to start moving plans forward, with the annex offices the first priority.
Voters also authorized a debt exclusion to allow the town to make a final debt service payment on a bond issued in 2001 to cap Tisbury's landfill and construct the park and ride lot on High Point Lane. The vote was 675 to 272.
In years past, the bond payment was paid within the town's regular municipal budget. Since the town is getting close to its levy limit, putting the final bond payment on the ballot as a debt exclusion will afford the town another $150,000 in the budget.
Although ballot question three (506 to 426) and question four (471 to 449) passed, they corresponded to borrowing articles voters did not approve at special town meeting for money to install solar photovoltaic arrays on the new ESF roof. Voters at the special town meeting agreed that the expense could be postponed and the arrays added later, possibly at less cost.
Even though the ballot questions were approved, Tisbury Town Clerk Marion Mudge said yesterday they would still require a town meeting vote in order to be funded.
Ms. Mudge said Tisbury's special election had a strong voter turnout. A total of 988 voters, or 34 percent of the town's 2,910 registered voters, went to the polls Tuesday.