Tisbury selectmen dogged by tax bill delays and animal control

— File photo by Susan Safford

The Tisbury selectmen met Tuesday and approved assistant assessor Ann Marie Cywinski’s request to seek authorization from the state’s department of revenue (DOR) to send property owners preliminary rather than final real estate bills for the third quarter of the fiscal year.

“This will enable funds to come into the town so we won’t have to go out to borrow money to keep the town running,” Ms. Cywinski explained at the weekly selectmen’s meeting.

She said the company contracted to do Tisbury’s real estate revaluations, Vision Government Solutions, told her staffing issues delayed completion in time to meet the DOR’s deadline for a tax rate certification.

Selectman Tristan Israel said this is not the first time delays by Vision Government Solutions resulted in the town having to send out preliminary bills. He suggested hiring a different contractor the next time around.

Vision Government Solutions was the only one that responded the last time the contract was bid, Ms. Cywinski noted. Selectman Jeff Kristal said the town should request a refund from the company for any additional expense incurred.

Ms. Cywinski said taxpayers would receive estimated bills for the same amount as their first two quarterly bills. Fourth quarter bills will include the bulk of any increases due to what was budgeted at town meeting, she added.

The selectmen agreed that taxpayers should receive a letter of explanation in their third quarter bills and the information should be advertised in local newspapers and posted on the town’s website.

Plan to share

In follow-up to previous discussion, town administrator John Bugbee outlined a proposal for Tisbury and Oak Bluffs to share an assistant animal control officer (ACO) that he developed in collaboration with Oak Bluffs interim town administrator Bob Whritenour.

Mr. Bugbee said under the proposed agreement an assistant ACO would assist and cover time off for Tisbury ACO Laurie Clements, and also handle Oak Bluffs calls, including calls after office hours. Mr. Bugbee said the two towns would each contribute $8,000 to fund the position through the end of the fiscal year, at which time the arrangement would be reviewed to see if it should be continued. Oak Bluffs would also pay a fee to use Tisbury’s shelter.

Rather than debate the proposal that night, the selectmen agreed the next step would be to meet with the Oak Bluffs selectmen to discuss the specifics.

Speaking of dogs

The selectmen also heard a noise complaint from Nick and Paulette Mosey, who said at least two of their neighbor Marcia Weir’s five dogs bark incessantly. They apologized to Mr. Mosey for taking two months to respond to his formal letter of complaint to them, and then instructed him to submit another letter of complaint, this time to Ms. Clements.

Mr. Coogan said if Ms. Clements investigates the Moseys’ complaint and does not agree there is an issue or cannot resolve it, the selectmen would hold a formal hearing.

In other business, the selectmen voted to support Martha’s Vineyard Commission coastal planner Jo Ann Taylor’s submission of a grant application for state and federal emergency agency funds to update a pre-disaster mitigation plan for the town.

They also approved Island Housing Trust Philippe Jordi’s request to spend up to $3,600 as Tisbury’s share to develop a “workflow and asset management system” to inventory, keep track of, and manage affordable housing Island-wide.

At police chief Dan Hanavan’s recommendation, the selectmen approved the appointment of Jonathan P. Parker as a special officer and Lester Baptiste as a crossing guard.