Tisbury special town meeting will consider emergency facilities site, and a connector road
The Tisbury board of selectmen reviewed the warrant for a special town meeting to be held on November 1, hashing out the details article by article in a meeting Tuesday night.
The 20-article warrant includes two that ask for voters' approval of proposed sites for a new emergency services facility (ESF). Article 2 concerns the High Point Lane site, located on town-owned land between the water tower and Department of Public Works building near the Park and Ride lot, which is large enough to accommodate both a new fire and police station. The other site proposed in Article 3, located between Evelyn Way and Cook Road on State Road, contains three private properties, which would require the town to invoke eminent domain, a process that town counsel already has warned could prove costly if there are any legal disputes involved.
Connected to the High Point Lane site approval is Article 17, which calls for relocating a portion of the access road to the DPW facility. If that site is approved, the road will be necessary for the operation of any new facility.
Opinions among the selectmen, members of the Finance and Advisory Committee (FinCom), and members of the ESF committee were sharply divided on whether to put both Articles 2 and 3 on the warrant. After much discussion, the selectmen agreed to include both articles so that taxpayers would have the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of the two sites.
Tim McLean, town treasurer and tax collector, suggested finding out the exact costs associated with the Evelyn Way/State Road site for purchasing property.
Article 15 asks voters to approve the location of a connector road between the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and State Road. Although it is not contingent on whether or not a new emergency services facility is built, the connector road is a critical factor for the site that will impact emergency response time and effectiveness.
The selectmen and John Schilling, Fire Chief, view Article 13 as the most time-sensitive, as it asks voters to approve funding for construction of a garage facility on the Department of Public Works property. The garage will be used to house the fire department's new 41-foot ladder truck, due to arrive in early 2006, and for storing and maintaining town equipment if a new fire station is built. The estimated cost of the pre-constructed building has already doubled in a year, from $75,000 to $150,000, due to a sharp rise in steel costs.
After reviewing an article proposed by the DPW commissioners to fund additional costs for diesel fuel and propane in fiscal year 2006 because of escalating prices, the selectmen voted to add a late article to the warrant to cover additional fuel costs for town buildings, as well.
Tonight the FinCom members will vote on their recommendations for the warrant articles. The warrant goes before the board of selectmen for final approval at their meeting next Tuesday for posting by October 15.