Chilmark selectmen and FinCom review special town meeting warrant

Members vote to recommend all eight articles and appoint a new FinCom member.

From right, newest Chilmark FinCom member Robert Hannemann, Eric Glasgow, Adam DeBettencourt, Bruce Golden, Susan Murphy, finance committee chair Marshall Carroll, and selectman James Malkin at a meeting on Tuesday night. — Edie Prescott

Here’s a quick recap of what happened at the Chilmark joint selectmen-FinCom meeting on Tuesday:

  • New finance committee (FinCom) member and retired Tufts engineering professor Robert Hannemann was voted onto FinCom. He takes the seat vacated by Jim Malkin, who became a selectman earlier this year, and had a year remaining in his term. Mr. Hannemann was the only nominee.
  • The meeting also included a COLA (cost of living adjustment) discussion for town employee salaries, with a minimum of 1 percent and a max of 3 percent discussed.
  • Selectmen raised the ongoing issue over the cost-sharing between the towns for the UIRSD ( Jim Malkin said he feels that “the issue is being driven by West Tisbury representatives to the UIRSD who are concerned at the cost borne by the West Tisbury taxpayers.” Mr. Malkin feels the issue is district-wide costs, and the decisions should be made upon “what is in the best interest of the district” and the best interest of quality education. Task forces in both West Tisbury and Chilmark have been analyzing costs borne by the three up-Island schools as a way to determine the best formula for sharing costs.
  • Mr. Malkin stressed how important it was that Chilmark have a FinCom member as an observer at the UIRSD meetings. FinCom member Susan Murphy has been attending meetings, but due to a personal matter she has been unable to attend regularly.
  • West Tisbury residents will gather at a special town meeting on Monday, Dec. 5, at 7:30. Chilmark executive secretary Tim Carroll went through each of eight warrant articles, and FinCom voted either to recommend or not recommend each article that is to go before special town meeting on Dec. 5. (This is standard procedure before all town meetings.) All six FinCom members voted unanimously to recommend on all eight articles.

Warrant articles

Chilmark selectmen have finalized eight warrant articles that represent a cost of $150,622. Several articles focus on alleviating traffic headaches in Menemsha next summer by improving the satellite parking option on Tabor House Road and upgrading signage.

The two largest requests are $50,000 each for a state-required town property revaluation for fiscal year 2018, and for the relocation of the revetment stones and the installation of pilings to anchor the temporary tie-up floating dock.

Property revaluations used to be required every three years, but state law now requires that the revaluations be done every five years.

Art. 1: $50,000 for tax re-evaluation of Chilmark properties

Art. 2: $7,372 for temporary youth services coverage in library summer 2016

Art. 3: $7,650 for repeater channel for public safety radios at Peaked Hill

Art. 4: $9,600 for electric low-speed vehicle or UTV for police use in Menemsha

Art. 5: $50,000 for relocation of revetment stones and installation of pilings to anchor temporary floating dock

Art. 6: $15,000 for improvements to Menemsha Park & Ride lot

Art. 7: $3,000 for improved signage, pavement markings, and vegetation management along Menemsha town roads

Art. 8: $8,000 for repair or replacement of Chilmark town hall chimney

Menemsha improvements

The requested amount for the temporary dock was originally $35,000, but selectmen felt that number was too low. “If we find we can do it for less money, we can make an amendment on the town meeting floor to get it back down to $35 [thousand], but tonight we’re going to set it at $50,000,” selectman Warren Doty said.

“We had some leftover grant money, but it’s not going to be enough to get the whole job done,” selectman Bill Rossi told The Times Wednesday afternoon.

“To install the pilings for the temporary dock, there’s a lot of stone there,” Mr. Rossi said.

“There’s some uncertainty as to how difficult it’s going to be to drive the pilings in that area and remove some of the stone. We put that in there to ensure we have enough money to finish the project. The engineers have figured out how many pilings we need, so we need that money to basically finish the project that we’ve been working on for a couple of years now.”

Also on the table is $15,000 to pay for improvements to the Menemsha park-and-ride lot at Tabor House Road. Originally this number was $10,000, but selectmen thought it was not enough.

“My back-of-the-envelope estimates, which I seem to be prone to do,” Mr. Doty joked, “indicate that $10,000 is too low.” Mr. Doty thinks that a shelter could cost $3,500, lighting could cost $5,000, and “with $5,000 improvement for the parking lot, it could easily be $15,000, and maybe even that’s too low.”

“Fifteen thousand is a nice number to start with,” executive secretary Tim Carroll said.

“The first order of business is to get a nice, clean, organized parking area, and then we’ll look at the shelter and the lighting and what that’s going to cost,” Mr. Rossi said.

“If we did $15,000 worth of improvements up there, that would be nice,” Mr. Doty said.

In addition, a $3,000 article will go toward better signage, pavement markings, and vegetation management along town roads in Menemsha.

“It’s to improve the signage and to communicate to visitors, to direct them to the park-and-ride, and also there’s some vegetation that can be cut back to improve visibility when entering Basin Road to create a safer situation at that intersection [when making a right to go toward the beach],” Mr. Rossi said.

A stop sign on North Road at the bottom of the hill is proposed.

There is a $9,600 article for the purchase of a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) for the police department’s use in Menemsha.

“[The police department] wanted something they could maneuver easily in Menemsha during the busy season, and not take up a lot of space,” Mr. Rossi said. “Originally it was going to be an electric-cart type of thing, but it’s evolved into a UTV, which gives us some more options, in the off-season as well.”

Other articles

Also in the public safety realm is a $7,650 article to pay for adding a repeater channel to the public safety radios at Peaked Hill.

“From what I understand from the fire chief, it’s just an extra channel for the emergency services to make it more efficient for everyone and improve communications,” Mr. Rossi said.

The final two items on the special town meeting warrant are $7,372 to pay for the temporary coverage of the youth services position at the library during July and August 2016, and an $8,000 article to pay for the repair or replacement of the chimney on the Chilmark town hall building. If the decision is made to replace the chimney, the work must be authorized by the historical commission.

“We’re hoping we’ll be able to preserve it; if not it will have to be replaced,” Mr. Rossi said.