Edgartown approaches annual town meeting

Voters to consider $40.7 million budget and other articles.

The Old Whaling Church in Edgartown will be the site of this year's town meeting. -MV Times

Edgartown voters will head to their annual town meeting on Tuesday, April 12, from 7 to 10 pm, to vote on a 79-article warrant and an approximately $40.7 million FY23 budget. The meeting will take place at the Old Whaling Church on Main Street in Edgartown, with Steve Ewing as the moderator. 

Prior to the annual town meeting, voters will take up a 13-article special town meeting with some interesting and important decisions to be made. 

One noteworthy article that townspeople face this year at the special town meeting is a nonbinding question to call upon Holtec Pilgrim, the owner of the closed Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, to immediately withdraw any plans to discharge radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay. Another article would authorize the select board to lease a portion of Edgartown’s capped landfill on Meshacket Road to construct and operate a solar photovoltaic system, for a starting period of 20 years. 

Articles on the annual meeting warrant that are of greatest importance include appropriating $491,000 from free cash to develop a comprehensive wastewater management plan, changes to Edgartown zoning bylaws regarding height of structures, roof angles, and swimming pools, and a bylaw to ban soft drinks in plastic bottles less than 34 ounces. One article would appropriate $175,000 from free cash to contribute to the reconstruction of the Katama boat landing, and another article would appropriate $200,000 from free cash to conduct an engineering and feasibility assessment of roadways on Chappaquiddick that have been deemed susceptible to climate change, based on the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program. 

Several articles on the annual town meeting pertain to spending Community Preservation funds on a variety of projects, including $66,400 for passive recreation at Swimming Place Path, $60,000 for Vineyard Trust to do a roof project at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs, and $60,000 for the North Wharf restoration project, among other projects.

The town will ask voters to spend $50,000 on the annual Fourth of July fireworks. 

Voters will also be asked to fund $200,000 to conduct an engineering study and feasibility assessment of Chappaquiddick transportation lines.

A number of purchases are also on the warrant, including $167,500 for two new police cruisers and an unmarked police vehicle. Voters will also be asked to put $100,000 into a stabilization fund for the future purchase of a fire truck.

Just like in other Island towns, town meeting voters in Edgartown will be asked to consider a home rule petition asking state legislators to create a housing bank, which will impose a 2 percent transfer fee on real estate sales. The first $1 million of a sale would be exempt from the fee, so a property selling for $1.2 million would have a 2 percent fee on the $200,000.