Chilmark raises price of beach passes

Longtime town moderator Everett Poole announces retirement.

Chilmark selectmen raised the price of beach passes in town by $15.

Chilmark selectmen unanimously agreed to increase the cost of all town beach passes by $15 for the upcoming season.

Selectmen took up the request at a public hearing Tuesday night, but no members of the public spoke.

The increased prices were a recommendation made by the town’s beach committee. Committee chair Clarissa Allen said the price changes were to help offset the amount of money the committee requests from the town.

“There are certain infrastructure issues that need attention: fences, the shed at Vincent, road maintenance at both beaches,” Allen said. “I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request for support on this issue.”

Lucy Vincent beach passes will increase from $85 to $100, Squibnocket from $50 to $65, walk-on passes from $10 to $25, and transfer fees from $20 to $35.

Beach superintendent Martina Mastromonaco said there’s only been one fee increase in the past 25 years.

“The increases are $15 across the board, and potentially would make the beach department self-sufficient,” Mastromonaco said. “It would give us some extra revenue.”

Selectman Bill Rossi praised the committee for its work with the beaches last year. “You guys did a great job last year during trying circumstances,” Rossi said.

In other business, longtime Chilmark town moderator Everett Poole has retired, and will not seek re-election.

Selectman Warren Doty said Poole has been the “symbol” of town meeting, and he hasn’t been to a town meeting where Poole wasn’t the moderator.

Rossi said Poole has always had a commanding presence at town meeting.

“He’s one of the most effective moderators I’ve ever witnessed. It’s going to be hard to replace him,” Rossi said. “He was huge, he was huge.”

Selectman Jim Malkin called Everett a godfather, and integral to the town: “He said to me once, ‘I can be Everett, but at town meeting I’m Great God Almighty.’”

Malkin added that Poole got him involved in the Squibnocket bridge project. “If it wasn’t for Everett, I’d have a much nicer retirement, and I wouldn’t get people calling me about the Steamship Authority or shared paths,” Malkin joked.

Selectmen also briefly discussed moving town meeting, but took no vote. Several other towns have moved their town meetings into May and June, hoping it will provide additional time for people to get vaccinated.

Rossi said he wanted to see as many voters as possible at the upcoming town meeting. Town meeting is tentatively set for April 28, but selectmen felt it would be best to move the meeting into May. “We have to be able to accommodate, I think, a fairly large number because we have some fairly large decisions to make,” Rossi said.

With Poole’s retirement, Malkin said, town clerk Jennifer Christy will open the meeting and will accept nominations from the floor for a moderator. Attendees will decide on a moderator for that meeting. Voters will then decide on a new moderator at the ballot box during a special town election.