The Edgartown selectmen’s race will pit longtime incumbent Mike Donaroma against newcomer Jack Krowski.
Donaroma is the current selectmen chair and owner and founder of Donaroma’s Nursery in Edgartown. He’s a fourth generation Islander. A self-described sports fan and plant lover, Donaroma likes to spend his time giving back to the town by leading the Boys and Girls Club and helping local nonprofits.
Krowski, who is also running for Edgartown’s Land Bank commissioner, met his wife on the Island in 1970 while the two then-college students were working during the summer. Krowski has worked at Carroll’s trucking and spent time on town boards in Canton before purchasing his home in Edgartown in 2017. If he’s not attending board meetings, Krowski spends time boating, gardening, and occasionally fishing.
Donaroma said he’s running because of his passion for the town and drive to make it a better place.
“I like to keep the momentum going. The town is in great shape,” Donaroma said, citing the town’s low tax rate, his tenure as chairman on the library building committee, and the Yellow House project. “It’s something worth my sticking to.”
While pulling papers to run for Land Bank commissioner, Krowski said he noticed no one was running against Donaroma.
“I was talking to different people when I was getting my signatures. A lot of people were just commenting about how the town is going, they didn’t like the direction of the town,” Krowski said. “I’d run just so people could have a choice. I’d never vote for any of the current selectmen.”
The town faces issues with a growing elderly population and affordable housing. Krowski put emphasis on the affordability of housing in town, even proposing a 3,500-square-foot limit on houses.
“The big issue is affordability…it’s getting ridiculous,” Krowski said. “The way the town’s headed it’s only going to be the very wealthy that are living here. That’s the way the selectmen want it.”
Donaroma feels there are plenty of things the town can work on including the harbors, the ponds, and other issues.
“Affordable housing is one of the key issues. The town tries to do a lot. We have a lot of things going with affordable housing committee and CPC funds,” Donaroma said. “I’m also interested in senior citizens and senior day care.”
Ever since Gov. Charlie Baker signed the expanded rooms excise tax into law, towns and interest groups have been trying to figure out how best to spend the additional revenue. The Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank campaign wants half of the tax to go toward a bank to build housing. Edgartown has not been shy about voicing its opposition to the Housing Bank. Both candidates agree that the Housing Bank isn’t ready.
“They have to do more work on it. I would rather see some of the money go to the Land Bank and have the Land Bank get involved with housing,” Krowski said.
Donaroma said the Housing Bank proposal is an idea worth looking at, but feels it is too premature in its current form.
“We’re not ready yet. How are we going to explain to taxpayers we’re giving away half our income?… This would hurt the momentum of the town. We should be talking to the affordable housing committee. Edgartown would be giving away a lion’s share of the money and only have one sixth of a vote,” he said.
Both candidates have experience in leadership roles, but differ on their visions of the town.
Krowski said he would be a fresh face on the board of selectmen, and that he can connect with all the people of Edgartown.
“Mr. Donaroma is more inclined to want to work with the elite and not with the average person,” Krowski said. “I just see a lot of the houses they’re building. I just think we have enough mansions on Martha’s Vineyard. Especially this new subdivision on Meeting House. I’m very against that.”
Donaroma cited his 16 years as a selectman, 12 years on the planning board, and 10 years on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as experience worth voting for.
“I don’t think he understands the selectmen’s position,” Donaroma said of Krowski. “He asked if I would join him against making houses more than 3,500 square feet…We have all sorts of rules for house building; it’s not the selectmen’s job. I think if a project is well planned, it’s a benefit to the town and the homeowner.”