Voters to weigh in on town expenditures

O.B. town meeting set for April 12.

Included in the O.B. annual town meeting warrant is the allocation of $26 million toward upgrading the town’s wastewater treatment facility. — Abigail Rosen

The Oak Bluffs combined annual and special town meetings are set for 7 pm on Tuesday, April 12, at the Martha’s Vineyard High School Performing Arts Center.

Voters will consider a nine-article special town meeting warrant and a 35-article annual town meeting warrant, in addition to a $35.4 million budget: a 4.29 percent increase from last year, and a 9.4 percent increase from 2020.

The largest expenditures are $26 million allocated toward the upgrade of the town’s wastewater treatment facility, and $6.9 million to the ongoing East Chop Bluffs project, in order to “stabilize and mitigate further damage to and increase accessibility” of the bluff, dependent upon the Proposition 2½ debt exclusion ballot vote approval. In both cases, the town is seeking funding through grants. But assuming those grants don’t come through, the cost per year for a taxpayer with a property valued at $1 million would be a combined $301. If the town gets the maximum grants for both projects, taxpayers would pay $138 per year in additional taxes.

The Vineyard Preservation Trust, tasked with the refurbishment of the Flying Horses carousel, seeks approval for the increased estimated cost of $129,400 — $57,100 more than the initial projection — for upgrading and restoring the carousel platform, organ, and drivetrain, and replacement of exterior doors. The articles also include $600,000 for a high-efficiency propane furnace to replace the Oak Bluffs School’s boiler system, in hopes of “contributing to the town becoming a Green Community.”

A total of $1.3 million is recommended to be distributed among the Island Autism Group, Habitat for Humanity affordable housing, New York Avenues Harbor Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes County regional housing authority’s rental assistance program, Island Elderly Housing, and Cottagers’ Corner Foundation, in addition to the formulation of a project design for the replacement and enlargement of the culvert connecting Farm Pond to Nantucket Sound.

Other expenditure items consist of a $30,000 repainting of the exterior of Oak Bluffs School, $80,000 for the replacement of the town’s fire chief’s 10-year-old vehicle, and $30,000 to provide for any dredging that might be needed at Farm Pond or the Little Bridge. Additional expenditures include the planting of rosa rugosa and beach grass near the Steamship dock for stabilization and erosion prevention purposes, the purchase of a Jet Ski and rescue board for O.B. lifeguards, the replacement of a handicap access ramp at the Council of Aging’s senior center, and funding for the Oak Bluffs fireworks, amounting to a cumulative $145,000. 

Voters will be asked to vote on several key issues, including the approval of the proposed housing bank, and for the Island representatives to “employ all means available to ensure that Holtec commits to immediately withdraw any plans to dump any radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay.”