Thanks, West Tisbury, but fond memories fade

To the Editor:

I lived on the Vineyard at various times since 1990, and have always found the general populace to be welcoming and low key. I moved from West Tisbury to Los Angeles in March of 2005, bidding a fond farewell to an Island I had grown to love and call my home. Recently, I relocated to Boston and was faced with the mundane task of registering my car in Massachusetts. At the Registry of Motor Vehicles, I was told that I owed the town of West Tisbury excise tax for the years of 2005 and 2006. A total of $800.35, to be exact. I would not be able to register my car, until this was cleared up.

Okay, I thought, there has obviously been some confusion and a mix-up, of sorts. So, after waiting in line for two hours at a jail-like registry, I left and resolved to call the West Tisbury Tax Collector. I called and spoke with Brent Taylor. I attempted to explain that I had moved and that my car had been registered in California for a majority of the time that they were assessing me the excise taxes.

She was rude and abrupt and clearly was not sympathetic. When I asked if I might speak with her supervisor, she haughtily proclaimed, “I am an elected official. The townspeople of West Tisbury are my supervisors.” Er, okay, easy does it, lady. In any event, I eventually got the woman to calm down a bit and managed to be transferred to Jennifer Rand, town administrator, who was lovely, yet inflexible. I was told that because I hadn’t filed an abatement within three years, that nothing could be done.

This makes no sense whatsoever. I didn’t even know that I was being charged these taxes until I went to register my car this past Friday. I know that I probably just sound like some stupid whiner, but it really bugs me. Also, the kicker was that when I tried to pay them with either a credit card or debit card, I was informed that I would have to send a cashier’s check or money order. Really? Rip me off and then make it difficult for me to pay the funds that you are clearly not entitled to?

Thanks, West Tisbury, my fond memories are rapidly fading.

John Manning

Boston