Aquinnah finalizes town meeting warrant and budget


Aquinnah selectmen approved a $5.3 million operating budget and a $375,000 Proposition 2½ override, to be put before voters at town meeting in May.

Selectman Jim Newman said at a meeting Tuesday that the cause for the large override is fixed costs and outside expenses.

According to town administrator Jeff Madison, this is the second year in a row that the town has sought a significant Proposition 2½ override. He announced that he will be attempting to put together a pie chart for voters outlining what expenses are causing the override, and how they factor into the rest of the budget.

Aquinnah is the last town to hold its annual town meeting, and faces much of the same controversy surrounding various articles like those relating to the track and field development at the high school, and maintenance of the new E911 communications system sought by the Dukes County Sheriff.  

Abby Jardin met again with selectmen to ask them to take the warrant article dedicating a particular parcel of land, lot 341, to affordable housing. Jardin and her family are heirs to Abram Rodman, and Jardin insists that lot 341 is still rightfully deeded to her.

She told the board that when the Plymouth County Probate Court allowed her family to transfer the property to Francis Cournoyer in 1972, it was done unwittingly.

“Marolla Francis was not completely literate, she wasn’t well schooled and didn’t know completely what she was signing,” Jardin said.

She also presented a document stating that Francis Cournoyer deeded the land back to Marolla Francis.

“The issue I am having with this is that this was done in the 70’s, and the town claims that in 1928, the land was deeded to them by Abram Rodman,” Jardin said. “Our family knows that isn’t possible because he was suffering from encephalitis and didn’t have the mental faculties to make his own decisions, let alone hold a pen.”

Selectmen agreed that the only way to stay within the confines of the law would be for the article to be voted on at town meeting.

“Our hands are tied here, Abby,” Madison said. “It gives me no pleasure to say this, but this is going to town meeting floor. There are no other avenues that I can see.”



  1. The reason the town relies on large overrides to balance the budget is because we pay the expenses of a growing federal Indian Reservation, that accounted for 20% of the budget in 2006, but that does not significantly contribute to town revenue, despite a Settlement Agreement and State legislation that provided for federal reimbursement to the town. Obviously, the town needs to seek such federal reimbursement, but, incredibly, Selectmen and FinCom oppose such efforts. Town leadership should enforce and complete the Settlement Agreement by seeking federal and state reimbursement for expenses that will, eventually, sink Aquinnah’s boat, instead of attacking Assessors for saying that town finances are unsustainable. -Mike Stutz, former chair, Aquinnah Assessors

  2. The government didn’t follow through on an agreement with Indians? How shocking. You should definitely point your finger at the Indian Reservation to place the blame. That makes the most sense.

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