West Tisbury selectmen make short work

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It took the West Tisbury selectmen just 15 minutes to digest some very good financial news, approve two permit requests and adjourn, in what for some on hand last week was record time. Following the meeting, the selectmen and well-wishers joined a reception for departing chairman Diane Powers, who ended her term on the board.

Selectman Richard Knabel passed on a report from town accountant Bruce Stone. Mr. Stone reported that the town expects to receive $762,033 from the Massachusetts state budget for fiscal 2011, as payment in lieu of taxes for state-owned land in the Island town. That sum is a $244,393 increase over the state payment for the current fiscal year.

In addition, Mr. Stone expects the town tax levy to be just $140,000 or 1.2 percent greater than it was for FY2010.

Mr. Stone reported that in preparing the town’s projected FY 2011 budget, he was conservative and made his calculations, expecting that the state payment could decrease by 10 percent. His more encouraging calculation, based on the estimated increase in the state’s payment, remains only a projection, until he learns what the final amount is that the state ultimately sends.

In the one item of new business, selectmen approved a request from the West Tisbury School “Class of 2012” to hold a fundraiser at the Grange Hall on May 14. However, selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter, noted critically that last year the group sought funds for the purchase of wine. Selectmen granted a permit with the stipulation that the group not solicit money for wine.

Selectmen also approved a construction permit for NSTAR to bury cables at two locations beneath Old County Road and on Pin Oak Road, on the condition that the utility give the town 48 hours notice before work begins, and a town representative be on site, at the utility’s expense, to ensure that the roads are not at risk.

Before her last official duty — gaveling the meeting to a close — Ms. Powers, with an emotional catch in her voice, said to her two colleagues Mr. Manter and Mr. Knabel, “I want to thank both of you. I enjoyed working with both of you. But I could not have done it without Jen (Jennifer Rand, executive secretary). Thank you.”

Cynthia Mitchell, former selectman, was elected to Ms. Powers’ seat Thursday.