With town moderator Everett Poole at the podium, Chilmark voters sped through 18 warrant articles Monday night in just over half an hour at a special town meeting. Critical design funding for a new fire station and Tri-Town Ambulance headquarters passed unanimously and without the slightest comment. In fact, every article passed unanimously, whether it was $11,000 for a new town hall copying machine or $80,000 for consolidation of Menemsha dredge permits.
By far the most consequential item on the warrant, both in dollar value and political gravity, was Article 2, the fire station design article, which sought $440,000 to pay an owner’s project manager, a clerk of the works, and architectural work for a long-sought replacement to Chilmark’s fire station and a first-ever central station for Tri-Town Ambulance. The $440,000 approved was in addition to $200,000 voted in at the last annual town meeting for the same purpose.
The only real commentary of the evening came from planning board member Peter Cook and Chilmark zoning board of appeals member Chris Murphy regarding Article 18, which sought permission to dispose of real estate for delinquent taxes. Because real estate opportunities for the town of Chilmark are rare, Cook argued, he wanted assurance the real estate in question had been properly evaluated for anything the town may want to use it for. Selectmen Bill Rossi and Jim Malkin both told Cook the property has been studied and liquidation was found to be the best option. Murphy said he thought the language of the article gave the board of selectmen carte blanche to dispose of any tax-taken real estate going forward without voter input. In light of this, the language of the article was amended unanimously to include the specific address of the property to be sold — 4 North Ridge Rd. It passed unanimously.
Other appropriations voters approved included $48,674 for a new police cruiser, $20,333 for software and hardware upgrades in town hall, as well as a stipend for website management, and $5,500 for locust wood poles and rails in the Chilmark Community Center parking lot and a new cart to move folding chairs in the building.