West Tisbury selectmen hear school borrowing request

Selectmen also signed off on the annual town meeting warrant and discussed a new truck purchase.

Photo by Rich Saltzberg.

West Tisbury selectmen, minus one member, signed the warrant for the annual town meeting on April 12, and discussed several money issues related to repairs at the West Tisbury and Chilmark schools last week.

Selectman Richard Knabel was recovering from knee surgery and did not attend the regular Wednesday meeting

Selectman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter, who is also a member of the up-Island school committee, said nearly $1 million is needed for various projects.

“As we were well aware, the schools are planning to do some capital repairs at the two sites,” said Mr. Manter. “It was decided to lessen the financial impact and do a 10-year borrowing for approximately $995,000. Once the school district votes to incur the debt, the towns have the option within 60 days to have a town meeting, special or otherwise, to approve or not approve the actions of the school committee. If the towns take no action, it is deemed to be approved at the end of the 60 days.”

Mr. Manter said the question was whether or not to hold a special town meeting the night of the annual to give voters a chance to say yes or no. “I, for one, am in favor of this. It’s a good thing. It’s a smart thing,” Mr. Manter said. After further discussion, selectmen Cynthia Mitchell and Mr. Manter took no action.

In other business, highway superintendent Richard Olsen was on hand to field questions about a request to purchase a new truck for the highway department. The department is requesting $68,000, but the final cost will be determined when they go out to bid.

“I don’t disagree that needs replacing badly,” said Mr. Manter, referring to the existing vehicle. “It’s done well to the town, and it’s time to say goodbye.”

However, Mr. Manter disagreed with Mr. Olsen on the need for a larger truck. He said that the current truck is not often used at its full capacity.

“It will cost more to maintain; it will cost more fuel; it’s a bigger, heavier truck,” Mr. Manter said.

He added, “The bigger it is, the harder it will be to see around it at corners on some of the roads that we have. I think a similar-size truck as we presently have would be sufficient for both the use it needs and the safety issues that I just described.”

Mr. Olsen disagreed. Selectman Cynthia Mitchell added her view. “The highway superintendent does a phenomenal job, and his recommendations are to be respected,” said Ms. Mitchell.

Selectmen also discussed the Land Bank’s new plan for Ice House Pond access, which moves parking to a lot on Lambert’s Cove Road, and concern that people will park on the side of the road. Mr. Olsen said visitors would need to be discouraged from parking anywhere along the roadway, as there are areas of erosion and places where he can’t get grass to grow.

“I would like to first see if the new Land Bank Ice House Pond access really does create an additional burden on what you’re describing,” Ms. Mitchell said.

In other business, selectmen appointed Doug Ruskin, who is a current at-large member, to the Island Housing Trust, and signed off on two event permits: a hospital event for CEO Tim Walsh’s retirement party at the Ag Hall, and a permit for the Friends of Family Planning annual art-gala fundraiser.