West Tisbury Q3 tax bills will be late
West Tisbury's third-quarter property tax bills, usually sent out in early December, will be late this year. Jennifer Rand, executive secretary and chairman of the financial management team, announced the news at the selectmen's meeting last week. Ms. Rand said she was not sure when the bills would be ready for mailing, but she said, "Every effort is being made to have them out in January."
The third quarter tax bill must be accurate because it is the first "official" tax bill (the first- and second-quarter tax bills are only estimates). This detailed bill is the one a taxpayer must use to base an appeal.
Town treasurer Kathy Logue told The Times that there are several reasons why the bills will be late this year. She explained that the town has changed to a new system of computer software, with the usual new-system problems and extra work, causing some delays. Also, this is the first year the town will add the three-percent surtax for the Community Preservation Act. Furthermore, Ms. Logue said that she has not yet received all the necessary information from the assessors' office, work which has been delayed by the many hours needed to defend William Graham's suit before the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board.
Late billing may cause a cash-flow problem for the town, which could have to borrow money to pay its bills until the third-quarter payments begin arriving. However, Ms. Logue said, "If we need to borrow, it won't be much, perhaps $15,000."
At the same meeting, Shelton Bank, a member of the town energy committee, reported that in the last 12 months, the town saved $5,555 as a result of energy-saving measures recommended by Rise Engineering, a subcontractor to the Cape Light Compact. The greatest savings were at the West Tisbury School ($3,878 per year) and the Howes House ($630 per year). Most of the savings were realized by changing to more efficient lighting. Mr. Bank commented that in the next 12 months, with the proposed increase in electricity rates, the measures already taken will save another $7,750.
However, the energy committee has gone out of existence, and the selectmen have not yet appointed a new one. Mr. Bank urged the selectmen to do so, as he feels there is still work for such a committee to do. In particular, he noted that even more money could probably be saved on heating costs, though changes in heating systems are more complicated. Selectman Glenn Hearn noted that a new furnace installed in the Oak Bluffs School will be entirely paid for out of savings in fuel costs, at no additional cost to the town.