Tisbury selectmen approved a modest hike of 2.5 percent in mooring fees Tuesday night after debate with harbormaster John Crocker, Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard owner Phil Hale, fisherman Glenn Pacicho, harbor management committee member Beckah Eldiery, and other nautical stakeholders.
Hale and Pachico spoke against fee hikes. The board also voted in a warrant article to establish a salaried assistant fire chief position. The $67,380 position would be funded from the unreserved fund and the fire department.
The 2.5 percent mooring increase was voted in for only 2019. The increase was arrived at after weighing various percentages and unacted-upon thoughts about hiring a consultant to examine harbor fees and make recommendations.
Selectman chairman Tristan Israel described the 2.5 percent as a political solution. On the recommendation of Crocker, the board also voted in a new schedule of Own Park Pier fees. Dockage for vessels less than 25 feet will remain at $5 per hour. Dockage for vessels between 25 and 30 feet will be $10 per hour. Dockage for vessels between 30 and 35 feet will be $15 per hour. Dockage for vessels between 35 and 40 feet will be $20 per hour, and dockage for vessels exceeding 40 feet will be $25 per hour.
The board advanced the assistant fire chief article on the recommendation of Fire Chief John Schilling, who said among other needed duties, the new position would serve as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliance officer for both the department and the town. Schilling informed the selectmen that as of Feb. 1, Massachusetts is fully under the strictures of OSHA. He said while this was previously true of private businesses, OSHA regulation now falls on the state’s municipalities, too.
Schilling told The Times on Wednesday both Assistant Fire Chief Joe Tierney and Assistant Fire Chief Greg Leland, who are volunteers, are qualified for the new position, and would make strong candidates.