The West Tisbury select board unanimously approved the reorganization of the board. Cynthia Mitchell is now the chair of the board and Skipper Manter, the former chair, is now the vice chair. Additionally, newly elected board member Jessica Miller made her debut during the Wednesday afternoon meeting. This is the first meeting West Tisbury has had a full select board since the death of former board member Kent Healy in November.
“Welcome and thank you for coming in. We have had some challenges over the last few months with Mr. Healy’s passing. But, we’re here and appreciate you being here,” Manter told Miller.
When time came to pick a vice chair, Manter said he had no issue with Miller taking the role of vice chair.
“I would prefer to watch and learn for a while, if I may,” Miller said.
In other news, the board unanimously approved West Tisbury building inspector Joseph Tierney’s request to meet with the town’s finance committee for a reserve fund transfer of around $12,000.
“When we were doing our budget last year we were still in the midst of COVID. So, apparently I didn’t budget enough. We basically came out of COVID with lightning speed. We’re just getting more inspection requests than we had planned,” Tierney said. The budget had planned for 780 inspections, but it looks closer to 960 inspections.
While the department is not losing money, Tierney said what is in the budget at the moment is a “shortfall.” The extra funds would need to come from the West Tisbury finance committee’s reserve fund, who Tierney will meet with next.
Meanwhile, two events were unanimously approved to occur at Grange Hall. one event was “Empty Bowls fundraiser supper and silent auction” on Saturday, April 23, from 5 to 9:30 pm. The proceeds will go to the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, which is “serving hot meals to Ukrainian refugees,” according to a flyer about the event.. The other was a Climate Action Week event hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission on Saturday, May 14, from 10 am to 2 pm.
The working group of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School construction funding formula, which Mitchell and West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand are members of, and its ad hoc nature came under review during the meeting. Manter had requested this discussion be placed on the agenda because he believed that notifications about the group’s meetings should be posted for the public per the state’s open meeting laws. Additionally, Manter believes the West Tisbury representatives should not take part in the meetings without the public postings.
Mitchell disagreed, citing the opinion Edgartown received from counsel Jack Collins that since the group does not fall under the definition of a public body with a specific charge, the meetings are not required to be formally posted. Additionally, she pointed out that there have been other groups in the past, such as the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, that had not publicly posted their meetings beforehand.
Miller took a neutral position on the issue, saying she “leaned toward the opinion” of Collins since there are no binding decisions being made at these meetings. However, she expressed concern that members of the public interested in the topic formula would not be able to participate if the meetings are not posted.