West Tisbury drops Mill Pond proposal
The West Tisbury selectmen have removed the funding proposal for cleaning up Mill Pond from the spring town meeting warrant.
In mid-February, the selectmen pushed to add to the warrant a request for $75,000, to begin a comprehensive Mill Pond dredging project. The money would have covered the design engineering costs and permitting fees. The entire dredging project is estimated to cost between $400,000 and $600,000.
Executive secretary Jennifer Rand said the selectmen decided that the pond dredging effort is not a priority and there is no health or safety crisis related to the pond.
Selectman Glenn Hearn said the town cannot afford to do the comprehensive dredging now. At last week's meeting, he said the town could probably receive some funding to weed a section of the pond near the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road where the worst buildup of weeds is.
The conservation commission had also concluded after hearing a biologist's assessment of the pond that the dredging is not a pressing need at this time, particularly in light of the expense. "We at the conservation commission are not in a huge hurry to do this," ConCom chairman Prudy Burt told the selectmen in February. "There is no danger with the health of the pond."
In other business town resident Barbara Day spoke in support of a proposed bylaw that would limit multiple simultaneous service on some boards and committees. Those boards include: the selectmen, assessors, health, planning, finance committee and up-Island regional school district committee. If passed, the bylaw would go into effect after Nov. 2, 2010.
Ms. Day said the purpose of the proposal is to encourage more town residents to run for committees and boards. "The selectmen have a big enough job," she said. "I don't know whether you need to be on other boards. The time has come for younger people to run for office. It's time to kind of welcome people into town government."
Ms. Day added that younger residents feel that board positions are monopolized by older citizens, who are difficult to dislodge. "It has nothing to do with the kind of job you're doing," she said.
Selectmen were reluctant to commit to supporting the article. Selectman Glenn Hearn said the proposal is similar to one that town voters rejected previously and that he had voted against, but he refused to say how he would vote this time.
Selectmen John Early and Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter said they too hadn't decided whether to support the proposal or not. "I want a chance to consider it," Mr. Early said.
In other business, the selectmen reviewed a Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Commission restriction recently signed with Harriet Hickie for 55 acres along Old Courthouse Road in West Tisbury. The Land Bank agreed to pay $2,250,000 for the restriction, which will preserve farmland and allow public access to trails.
Before signing off on the agreement, Mr. Manter wanted some clarification on some of the details, such as specific dates and times when the trails would be open and closed, and property maintenance. Mr. Hearn said he would discuss those questions with the Land Bank Commission, so the board can act on the agreement this week.