Voters will decide whether to support a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion to pay for the town’s share of a new $47 million Tisbury School.
That’s the top issue on the 40-article warrant for town meeting, which begins at 7 pm April 10 in the Tisbury School gymnasium. Voters will also weigh in on 20 articles on a special town meeting warrant. Town leaders are expecting an overflow crowd, which will be accommodated by equipping classrooms with audio and video of the meeting.
Jon Snyder, the town’s finance director, said the town’s share of the school project is $32 million. The Massachusetts School Building Authority is reimbursing 41.25 percent for qualified construction costs.
With the borrowing required, Snyder estimates the additional debt service would add $1.08 per $1,000 in real estate value for both residential and commercial properties. That would gradually taper off over the 20-plus years “by a cumulative total of about 45 percent before dramatically falling off in the last two years,” he said.
Among the articles on the annual town meeting warrant is a capital appropriations measure to fund 12 items, including a $250,000 ambulance.
Another article outlines how the town will spend its $346,000 in embarkation funds from the Steamship Authority, which includes $4,500 for active-shooter response training for the town’s police officers and emergency responders, as well as $33,000 for repairs to the harbor patrol boat, among other items.
There are also 15 items under a Community Preservation article seeking funds that are gathered through a surcharge on property taxes. They include $200,000 for the restoration of the Katharine Cornell Theater steeple on the Tisbury Town Hall, $100,000 for the Dukes County rental assistance program, $65,000 to create safe public access at the Lake Tashmoo Overlook, $40,000 for repairs to the Lagoon Pond Dock stairs, and $37,500 to restore Stone Church Tower at the United Methodist Church, among other items.
A separate article authorizes the purchase of property on West William Street for $675,000 to build a town hall or other public offices, with a separate article providing $50,000 for engineering studies and design.
The town is also asking voters to fund $104,000 for a Beach Road Seawall–Harborwalk project to match a grant.
Voters will also be asked to spend $700,000 on road improvements through the town’s DPW.
On a 20-article special town meeting warrant, there are proposals to add an assistant building inspector’s position and a lead wastewater operator’s position. Once again, the town will seek to add a certification process for rental apartments to ensure public safety. The bylaw was tabled last year when some voters saw it as a money grab by the town. Fees are now associated with the inspections.
I hope the voters in Tisbury will support their new school. I remember the pride we felt in Oak Bluffs when our new school was approved in the early 90’s. The new school improved our ability to provide educational services to all learners, created needed spaces lacking in the old buildings, and put Oak Bluffs kids on an equal footing with other Island kids.
Tisbury voters can feel that pride too.
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