Tisbury emergency plan needs to be dusted off

Plan hasn’t been updated in 24 years.

Some Tisbury department heads were in the hot seat Tuesday to talk about town budgets with the board of selectmen. — George Brennan


The town of Tisbury’s emergency management plan could soon join the age of smartphones and social media.

During a series of budget reviews Tuesday, the Tisbury board of selectmen approved a $35,000 budget for emergency management director Micah Agnoli and his assistant Christine Colarusso to spend 10 hours a week combined, revamping the town’s emergency management plan.

The budget requires approval of town meeting voters.

“We’re 24 years behind in Tisbury …” Fire Chief John Schilling said, his analysis interrupted by selectman Jeff Kristal.

“You can just leave it there, we’re 24 years behind in Tisbury,” Kristal said.

Schilling said the budget covers compensation and training so the town can catch up. “It’s not a quick thing to sit down and put this emergency plan together,” he said. “I agree this is quite a shock to the financial system, but we haven’t had an active department in over a decade, and we are way behind in this regard … It’s a big jump, yes, but it’s a smart investment for the town of Tisbury. We are not prepared, and we are the year-round port community, and we need to get our emergency house in order.”

Having a plan in place would put the town in a position to be eligible for grants, selectman Jim Rogers said.

Agnoli would be paid $37.30 per hour, and Colarusso would be paid $30 per hour, town administrator Jay Grande said.

Selectmen also heard from harbormaster John Crocker, shellfish constable Danielle Ewart, DPW director Kirk Metell, building commissioner Ross Seavey, and finance director Jon Snyder. Snyder had perhaps the best news, telling selectmen the town’s health insurance premiums — usually a budget buster — would remain consistent from the previous year. The only increase in that line item is for new employees being added.

The board also approved Metell’s request to combine the budgets of the DPW and facilities departments —  both of which he oversees. In a nod to how difficult it is to get qualified lifeguards, Metell said his department would budget for only three this summer after it’s been impossible to fill five positions, despite raising the pay for the positions significantly.

Selectmen rejected a proposal by Crocker and Ewart to hire a full-time combined assistant who would serve both the harbor and shellfish departments. Board members raised concerns about whom the position would report to, and the need to look at the overall structures of the departments.

The board also approved the building department’s budget. The building department is absorbing the plumbing and gas inspector positions, and the town will begin advertising soon for a local inspector to assist Seavey in the building department. Seavey was originally hired for that position, but it coincided with the abrupt retirement of Kenneth Barwick as building inspector last year.

Selectmen have scheduled a series of budget reviews over the next couple of weeks with the town’s finance committee.