West Tisbury skeptical of Chamber request
West Tisbury selectmen last week again grappled with town spending issues, several of which they decided to place on the April 13 annual town meeting warrant. They also got their first look at a proposal for a new police headquarters and a library addition.
Nancy Gardella, director of the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, attended the Wednesday night meeting to make a case for taxpayer support. Ms. Gardella is asking each of the Island towns to contribute $10,000 to the Chamber to be used to market the Island to prospective visitors.
Ms. Gardella told the selectmen that Chamber funding from the Commonwealth has been slashed from $360,000 to about $106,000 - a 66-percent reduction in the Chamber's available revenues. "Tourism means jobs," she said, adding and that marketing efforts would be aimed primarily at annual vacationers and seasonal residents.
Selectman Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter, referring to last summer's presidential visit said, "We get world-wide attention that we don't have to pay for. I don't think I have to dip into my pocket and bring more people here."
The selectmen agreed to put a $10,000 funding request on the warrant contingent upon the understanding that all six Island towns contribute.
Chairman Diane Powers said, "it is not my decision. If the voters want to spend the money they will decide to spend the money."
Voters also will be asked to approve the personnel Board's recommendation of a new job reclassification system utilizing letter grades instead of numerals. According to board chairman Norman Perry, the rewriting of job descriptions and the creation of the reclassification has been based on a lengthy process that began in April 2008, and included a series of meetings with employees and help from consultants who have studied the practices of similarly sized towns.
In addition to changing the job classification system, the personnel b oard will be asking the residents to approve changing the job title of the town's executive secretary, a title called archaic by consultants, according to Mr. Perry, to that of town administrator. If voters approve, 10 current employees will realize a pay raise under the new system and no one will see a salary decrease. However, new hires may realize a lower pay scale.
In other business, the selectmen also heard a brief report from town resident Chuck Hodgkinson, chairman of the former Space Needs Committee, on a potential construction program for both a new police headquarters as well as an addition to the library.