Town Column : Oak Bluffs
All the people who decided to go to the warmth of Florida after the holidays must be shivering in the cold by now, just as we are here. At least the latest snow storms did not leave us too much to shovel, but we still have enough snow and ice underfoot to make walking treacherous.
A reminder that tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 15, is a professional day for teachers and staff. There will be no school for students on that day. There also will be no school on Monday, Jan. 18, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Due to a conflict with the Strings Concert, the Oak Bluffs School PTO meeting has been postponed.
All of you Oak Bluffs residents and taxpayers who are concerned about the present financial situation in town need to come to the Oak Bluffs Finance and Advisory Committee meeting today, Thursday, Jan. 14, at 4 pm in the first floor meeting room of the Oak Bluffs Library. There will be a public session to hear town residents' opinions about how to balance next year's budget. Current projections suggest that Oak Bluffs will have a $1,500,000 shortfall next year.
Areas that contribute to the shortfall will be shared and budget-balancing possibilities such as implementing hotel and meal taxes, cutting town services, freezing wages, collaborating with other towns, and raising taxes through overrides will be discussed. Opinions and ideas from the meeting will guide development for the fiscal year 2011 budget. My suggestion would be to take the Town Reports from the last three years and compare expenses for various departments over that time. That way you will be able to see which departments have increased their expenses significantly and you will have information to present suggestions at the meeting.
Priscilla Sylvia has received word that her son, Carl Hjelm, and his wife, Kirsten, will be moving from Idaho to the Portsmouth, N.H., area soon. Carl has been an assistant fire chief in Idaho and hopefully he will be able to continue in this endeavor in New Hampshire.
We send birthday smiles to Roddy Santos today; followed by Jessica Peters, Catherine Deese, and Tyson Araujo tomorrow, Katherine deBettencourt on the 17th, Marcia Valentzas on January 19, Alfie Araujo the next day, and granddaughter Talia Rogers on January 21.
Enjoy your week and send your news along to me.