Chilmark to vote on fire station land buy, decide fate of Housing Bank

Chilmark town officials have instituted a ban on construction. —MV Times File Photo

Chilmark voters will be asked on April 22 if they’re game to pony up $900,000 to buy land near town hall for a new fire station and a Tri-Town Ambulance building through a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion article. To fulfill the appropriation, voters will also be asked on April 24 to answer a ballot question on the same subject. The appropriation seeks the acquisition of real estate long owned by the Carroll family as a final solution to the town’s quest to replace its aging fire station and for Tri-Town Ambulance to get its own headquarters. (Tri-Town shares space in West Tisbury.) A related article, also a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion contingent on a ballot vote, asks voters for an appropriation of $200,000 for “architectural services to design the fire station … and the EMS building.”

Chilmark may well decide the fate of the proposed Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank. Tisbury and Oak Bluffs voted down the idea earlier, while Edgartown mothballed the concept indefinitely. West Tisbury voted to accept the bank, but will not vote on funding it until April 30. Tuesday night Chilmark selectmen indicated they weren’t supportive of the Housing Bank. Should Chilmark vote it down, the requisite number of towns needed to move the concept forward to the legislature will fall short. In a nutshell, Chilmark’s vote is pivotal.

Voters will be asked if they want to assess another $49,335 in taxes to fund Chilmark’s share of a feasibility study for a high school renovation or rebuild, and $27,243 in additional taxes to the town’s portion of upgrades and maintenance of the Dukes County Regional Emergency Communication Center radio system. Both articles are Proposition 2½ overrides, which require ballot approval too.

Chilmark voters will weigh in on whether or not they want to join West Tisbury in its landmark prohibition of plastic water and soda bottles of less than 34 ounces.

The special town meeting kicks off at 6:30 pm Monday, the annual town meeting begins at 7 pm. Polls open for the annual town election at noon on Wednesday, and close at 8 pm. The only competitive race on the ballot is between Judith Flanders and Maxwell McCreery, who each seek three-year seats on the cemetery commission. Town meeting and the election both take place at the Chilmark Community Center.