Chilmark School fix-up needs on Chilmark agenda
Chilmark School principal Diane Gandy outlined for town selectmen a list of six priority maintenance items last week. She said she wanted to keep the selectmen apprised of ongoing work at the school - including work on doors, trench drains, gutters, signs, and alarms.
The selectmen heard Ms. Gandy's update on Nov. 15, along with briefings on the shellfish programs and the annual town audit.
New doors have been painted and adjusted, alarms have been repaired and room number signs are ready to install, Ms. Gandy said. The other work is under way or will be a priority. The school committee also approved $2,100 for a new traffic light at the school, she said.
"We can't do it all in one year, but we'll take care of the high-priority items first," Ms. Gandy said. "I feel responsible for the building."
About $13,000 remains in a $300,000 school maintenance fund approved in 2002. Selectman Warren Doty suggested that money could be used toward one of the current projects in order to close out the account. Ms. Gandy did not provide estimates for all the work.
The selectmen appointed a shellfish committee to develop a town shellfish production program. The committee will research what is needed to get the program going, including setting up a staff.
The selectmen also approved the opening of the oyster season on Monday, at Stanley Larsen's request, with the stipulation that fishermen separate the largest oysters and place them in a prescribed enclosed area and not sell them.
Oyster fishing will be open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Squibnocket Pond and Tisbury Great Pond. Fishermen will be allowed to take two bushels a day, Mr. Larsen said.
Mr. Karney also reported that the marketable oysters he has checked at both ponds are mostly two sizes, excluding the largest. "The oysters I saw are beautiful - lots of meat," he said, noting the best specimens were in the great pond.
Auditor Richard Sullivan presented a positive annual report on the status of the town's finances for 2005-2006, calling it a "pretty healthy balance sheet." He noted the reserve fund of $640,000, which does not include the stabilization fund, is "admirable for a community of this size."
Mr. Sullivan also said the debt service is a healthy 10 percent of the total budget of $5.9 million, and the town is collecting about 98 percent of its real estate and property taxes.
Overall, he said, "You're doing the right things. You still have budget restraints, but you're handling them well."
Selectman Doty asked Mr. Sullivan's advice on the best fund to use for an extra expense, such as the future cost of the Chapter 70 state aid formula for education or the extra assessments from the Vineyard Regional Transit Authority. Mr. Sullivan was reluctant to make a specific recommendation on whether the town should pay the VTA's $171,074 bill, but he said the separate stabilization fund should only be used for one-time extraordinary expenses.
In other business, resident Jackie Mendez-Diez of The Aerie Road off North Road asked the selectmen to consider her request to name a neighboring property owned by Larry David a development of regional impact (DRI). She said the development has been going on for five years and has resulted in more activity than she had expected.
Ms. Mendez-Diez has been a frequent critic of her neighbors and has aired her complaints in letters to the editor and to town officials.
Ms. Mendez-Diez said the truck traffic on an adjoining right-of-way is dangerous, has caused damage to the road and her property, and has caused pollution in the neighborhood. She also said the truck drivers have been rude to her.
"They've just not been responsible to the neighborhood safety and environmental concerns," she said in general of the developers.
Selectman Frank Fenner, in reviewing the maps and plans Ms. Mendez-Diez presented, said he did not believe the development could qualify under the DRI guidelines with only five or six buildings on 75 acres.
The selectmen agreed to take Ms. Mendez-Diez's letter under advisement and to look at the property.
Robert Thorpe, another Aerie Road neighbor of Ms. Mendez-Diez who is working on his own property on Menemsha Crossing, said at the meeting, "I know of no issues that town officials have with this [the David development]." He added, "It's an ongoing process where Ms. Mendez-Diez has chosen to harass my family and the Davids."