Edgartown selectmen hear plans for MVTV changes

The director of Martha’s Vineyard Television (MVTV) outlined for Edgartown selectmen planned improvements to government meeting broadcasts.

Julian Turner told selectmen, at their regular Monday meeting, that MVTV plans to install robotic cameras in the selectmen’s meeting room at town hall, and at government buildings in other towns. The Island’s public access channel also plans to begin live broadcasts of the public meetings, as well as live streaming of the meetings over the Internet. The new equipment will allow selectmen or public service personnel to broadcast emergency information live from town hall.

“The largest area we need to focus on is our facilities and equipment,” Ms. Turner said.

She said MVTV also wants to offer more training classes, marketing for non-profit organizations, establish internships, and sponsor youth summer video camps.

A survey of users prompted the changes, Ms. Turner said.

In other business, selectmen agreed to a request from fire Chief Peter Shemeth to change requirements for ambulance personnel. The chief recommended that all full-time staff be certified as paramedics, the highest level of training for emergency medical responders.

“That would give us more flexibility,” Chief Shemeth said. “It would be a better level of service.”

Selectmen also agreed, at Chief Shemeth’s recommendation, to hire Jake Sylvia as a paramedic, to work 24 hours per week. The chief said the department’s salary budget will not be affected, but the new position will be eligible for benefits.

A public hearing about utility poles, usually short and routine, took about 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting.

Joseph Coffee, who owns a house at 34 Morse Street, asked to remove a privately owned utility pole on his property and pay the entire cost of relocating electric and phone cables underground.

His neighbor, Fletcher Hodges, said he traveled from his New York home to object. The private pole also carries utility wires for Mr. Hodges home.

Although Mr. Coffee offered verbal assurances that he would pay for the entire cost of relocating wires for both homes, Mr. Hodges said he would object until he got that promise in writing, including a provision ensuring that the underground conduit will not damage his shrubbery.

After a long discussion that involved Mr. Hodges, his attorney, two contractors, both selectmen who were present, and a representative of the electric utility NSTAR, selectmen agreed to the plan, contingent on receiving the written promise.