West Tisbury increases inspectors’ pay

Several appointments made; a select board member may join the Dukes County Health Council.

Changes to the West Tisbury building department's inspector pay and inspection fees are coming. — Rich Saltzberg

The West Tisbury select board unanimously approved requests made by the town’s building inspector, Joseph K. Tierney Jr., during a Wednesday Zoom meeting. The board approved a change to inspector fees and pay, as well as the building department’s budget. 

“Basically, our plumbing, gas, and electrical inspectors have not had a raise since September of 2016,” Tierney said. After comparing the fees of other Island towns, he came to the recommendation of increasing the inspection fees by $5 ($70 to $75), which can be used to cover a $5 increase in inspectors’ pay ($65 to $70). 

West Tisbury select board chair Skipper Manter asked about the data entry software the inspectors use for their jobs. Tierney said the old software company had a structure that took 7.5 percent of each inspection. The current software company the building department uses now does not have a per-inspection fee on revenue. Knowing this, Manter challenged the need to increase the inspection fees. He wanted to just increase inspectors’ pay and keep fees as they are. 

“I guess we could increase the inspectors’ pay without actually increasing the fee,” Tierney said after some calculations. “But I would like to reserve the right to talk to Cathy [Minkiewicz, West Tisbury finance committee member,] to confirm that.” 

Manter and West Tisbury select board member Cynthia Mitchell agreed that would be fine. They unanimously voted to keep the inspection fees at $70, and increase inspector pay. This motion is subject to change depending on what Tierney hears from Minkiewicz. 

Tierney also introduced the building department’s budget for fiscal year 2023. The presented budget includes $13,025 in expenses, $264,181 in personnel services (increase from fiscal year 2022’s $242,171) and a revenue of $175,550 (decrease from fiscal year 2022’s $175,975). Tierney said the biggest part of the budget was personnel costs, and he will need to adjust it a bit after the ruling made by the select board about inspection fees and inspector pay. However, Tierney does not expect this change to affect the budget too much. The select board unanimously approved the budget as written. 

In other business, some appointments were approved by the select board. Hal Garneau was unanimously approved for a tentative three-year term as a West Tisbury representative on the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council. West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand said she will need to check whether Garneau is filling a full term or sitting in for a remaining term.

Two individuals, Christopher West and Samantha Gitschier, were unanimously approved as assistant animal control officers. The help comes as West Tisbury Assistant Animal Control Officer Kimberly Andrade resigned. 

“I think they’re both highly qualified, and I am looking forward to working with them,” West Tisbury Animal Control Officer Anthony Cordray said. 

Fred Barron was unanimously appointed to the West Tisbury conservation commission. He replaces current conservation commission member John Brannen, and will be serving the remainder of that term, until April 2022. 

During a Dec. 15 meeting, the select board was presented with a request for comment from South Fork Wind for a cable connected to an offshore wind project. The select board decided not to say anything at this time, but reserve the right to comment in the future. 

The Dukes County Health Council is looking for a West Tisbury representative, preferably someone from the select board. The request came in through correspondence, but the select board decided to put it under new business during its next meeting. 

A public hearing was planned for Lambert’s Cove Inn’s wine and malt license application, but was postponed until Jan. 12.