Tisbury holds special town meeting Tuesday
In a prelude to the April 4 annual town meeting, Tisbury will hold a special town meeting Tuesday at 7:30 pm at the Tisbury School. Among the 12 articles is one asking voters to approve a formula-based spending plan for $276,182.50 generated from the passenger ferry embarkation fee. The specific expenditures will be addressed in a warrant article at the April 4 annual town meeting.
Looming in the background of the discussion is the use of embarkation fee revenue, money generated for the SSA's port communities through a 50-cent per passenger fee and meant to be used to mitigate the effects of ferry service. Tisbury, which received more than $250,000 last year, and the SSA have been at odds over whether the town or the boatline should pay for police traffic coverage at the Vineyard Haven terminal.
After reviewing the embarkation fee formula last week, Tisbury's Finance and Advisory Committee (FinCom) recommended changes that will be addressed on the special town meeting floor, since the warrant had already been posted. The FinCom's revised formula would allocate 20 percent ($55,000) to Water Street/Union Street beautification, such as better signage, added landscaping, Park and Ride lot improvements, and ticket kiosks. Another 20 percent would be used for infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks, curbing, and crosswalks.
Twenty-five percent of the funds ($69,000) would go towards safety equipment and operations. This includes $40,000 requested by Ted Saulnier, Tisbury's Police Chief, to fund summer traffic officers around the Steamship Authority terminal and the nearby intersections to mitigate traffic congestion and ensure the safety of pedestrians at crosswalks and other areas.
Another $14,000 under the safety equipment category would be used to purchase a foam trailer for use by the fire department in fighting a fuel-based fire in Tisbury. The fire department currently lacks the necessary resources to fight fuel-based fires, despite the fact most of the Island's fuel supply comes through Vineyard Haven.
The remaining 35 percent ($92,500) of the embarkation fees would be used for capital expenditures for town equipment impacted by SSA-related activities, such as emergency response vehicles, including two new police cruisers.
Several warrant articles concern financial processes meant to smooth the flow of town business, including a request to allow the treasurer to borrow money in anticipation of fiscal year 2007 revenue.
Voters also will be asked to approve a four percent across-the-board cost of living hike in the pay scale for managerial and professional employees, plus a three percent step increase for employees who have worked for the town seven years or less.
Another article addresses a similar increase in the classification scale for non-union, part-time, seasonal and temporary employees. The new scale would provide a per hour wage of between $7.23 and $17.12.
Article six would authorize Tisbury's board of health to enter into mutual aid agreements with other Island municipal public health agencies. The same article will be on town meeting warrants Island-wide for voters' approval so that the towns can assist each other with public health services should the need arise.
An article submitted by the Conservation Commission asks voters to support a non-binding resolution on water quality protection, particularly concerning the results and recommendations of the Massachusetts Estuaries Project.
By approving article 11, voters will authorize the selectmen to dispose of the fire department's old ladder truck, which they plan to auction off on eBay.
(A copy of the special town meeting warrant is available on here)