Over the course of the past few winter months, West Tisbury selectmen have focused on the town budget and warrant articles that voters will confront at the annual town meeting on April 14. The selectmen’s meeting on Wednesday, March 25, was no exception.
The selectmen went through all 48 articles; it was a dry run of sorts to clarify who would describe and answer questions about the articles when presented by the town’s newly elected moderator, Dan Waters.
Mr. Waters, a former town poet laureate and a present library trustee, was the only candidate on the ballot last fall to fill the position held by Pat Gregory for 23 years. Mr. Gregory was murdered while hiking in California in May 2014.
Selectmen Richard Knabel, Cynthia Mitchell, and Chairman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter each agreed to take on specific articles not already covered by other committees and groups at town meeting.
If all 48 articles, which include the town budget, are approved, the town will face its first Proposition 2.5 override vote in 11 years.
Town counsel Ronald Rappaport was present to answer the few questions Mr. Waters and selectmen had about some of the finer points of several articles.
It was evident that Mr. Waters had done his homework to prepare for his first meeting as moderator. He asked the selectmen succinct questions about specific article issues and the town meeting process. The selectmen along with the moderator preside over the town meeting, and Mr. Manter preceded Mr. Gregory as town moderator.
In other business, selectmen unanimously voted to appoint 28-year-old West Tisbury poet, graphic designer, printmaker, and gardener Emma Young poet laureate. Ms. Young attended the West Tisbury School, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, and majored in liberal arts at Hampshire College. She has written poetry since she was in the fourth grade, and has self-published numerous books. She follows Justen Ahren, who is finishing his three-year term as town poet.