Aquinnah to schedule additional special town meeting


The town of Aquinnah will be scheduling another special town meeting to vote on a number of new or unresolved expenses.

These include voting on the use of $229,730 in Excess and Deficiency funds to offset costs involved with anticipated deficits in the high school’s budget, a shortfall in the Dukes County Sheriff’s budget, and potential expenses stemming from the town’s assessing services.

Town administrator Jeff Madison said at Tuesday’s board of selectmen meeting that Superintendent of Schools Matt D’Andrea sent a letter requesting use of the funds. If Aquinnah does not schedule a special town meeting, the town defaults to a yes vote for the funds.

Selectman Jim Newman said it would be irresponsible not to hold a special town meeting and approve the funds.

“This is after the budget was done, and this has happened before. This is a lot of money and it’s totally inappropriate financially that they do this to us,” Newman said.

Board chair Juli Vanderhoop wondered why these expenses weren’t brought up before town meeting.

Selectman Gary Haley suggested having the meeting on June 11 or 12, in order to allow ample time to prepare the warrant articles, while also staying within the allotted 45-day period the town has to hold a meeting.

Madison said the selectmen would have to meet again as a board to approve the warrant articles before a special town meeting.

They scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, May 29.

In other business, selectmen took under advisement a bid offer from Regional Resource group (RRG), an assessing firm that pitched its services to the board back in March. The figures in the bid offer were identical to the ones presented to selectmen at the March meeting, according to Newman.

If selectmen decide to hire RRG for assessing services, it will cost approximately $38,400 for fiscal year 2020, and will increase every fiscal year. The TelePresence Portal would cost $2,400 to ship and install, and would require an annual $3,800 hosting fee.

Since Elise LeBovit’s term as assessor has expired, Madison placed an advertisement in the newspaper for the position. But he mentioned that another ad was also placed requesting that those interested contact the assessors, instead of the town administrator.

LeBovit said she placed the ad because assessors must act within a month to find replacements. “It is my duty,” LeBovit said.

But Newman said the assessors are not the appointing authority, and LeBovit should have asked people to contact the board or the town administrator. “It is not your job to give out false information,” Newman said.