Edgartown spending for FYI 2018 rises just 3 percent

Purchase of the Yellow House is the largest new outlay.

Edgartown wants to acquire the house at the corner of Summer and Main Street for $1.5 million, which would cause a tax bump, a roughly 5 percent one-time-only increase. —Stacey Rupolo

Edgartown voters will see few spending increases this year at the April 11 annual meeting, except for the town’s proposal to buy or take by eminent domain the Yellow House.

Town administrator Pam Dolby acknowledged the $1.5 million asked of voters to acquire the bedraggled, vacant property next to town hall at the corner of Main and South Summer streets would cause the largest tax bump, a roughly 5 percent one-time-only increase. For instance, if a voter is paying a $1,775 tax bill on property valued at $500,000, there will be an additional $96 included on his or her tax bill in fiscal 2018.

“Our operational increase is just 3 percent,” Ms. Dolby said. “The most significant thing on the warrant is the Yellow House, and it boils down to if the people want it, they’ll vote for it, if they don’t they won’t.” Voters got the official town meeting warrant in their mailboxes this week.

On the election ballot on April 13, voters will be asked to approve capital outlay expenditure exclusions for the following: $600,000 for a new dredge; $750,000 for a new Class “A” pumper for the fire department; $255,000 for construction of a bike lane on Meshacket Road between the West Tisbury Road and Marsh Hawk Circle; and $160,000 to purchase a patrol/collection vessel with a trailer for the town’s harbormaster.

Before the budget-planning season got underway, Ms. Dolby sent word to all town departments that she was looking for level funding in the fiscal 2018 budget.

“Other than fixed costs that we have no control over, there aren’t any huge increases,” Ms. Dolby said. “Things that increased had specific reason to do so; for the most part everyone respected [her request for level funding] and stuck to it.”

The regional high school assessment for 2018 actually decreased from $4,410,858 to $4,354,589, because the town sent fewer students to the school. Salaries at the Edgartown School increased slightly, from $5,601,051 to $5,713,645 for FY 2018.

Costs for the town’s portion of group health insurance for its employees increased nearly 14 percent, to $3,419,117 for FY 2018.

The town participated in a personnel review, Ms. Dolby said, but the information “was not forthcoming before the vote; it did not make the warrant this year.” It is likely that data from the review will be reflected in next year’s warrant.

“Voters should read the warrant and call the department or call me if they want clarification,” Ms. Dolby said. “It’s important that taxpayers have the information ahead of time, that people use the warrant to prepare themselves for town meeting.”

Ms. Dolby may be reached at 508-627-6180, or visit the town’s website for more information. Edgartown’s town meeting is at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 11, at the Old Whaling Church on Main Street.