Chilmark paves way for housing bank

Other questions also receive voter approval.


By 257 votes to 69, Chilmark voters cast the deciding votes to send the proposed housing bank legislation to Beacon Hill. The election, which had no contested races, drew 30 percent of the town’s 1,096 votes.

The home-rule petition, which was developed by the Coalition to Create the MV Housing Bank, requires four of the six Island towns to approve it at town meeting and on the town ballot. With Monday’s positive vote at town meeting, followed by Wednesday’s positive vote, it now has the necessary four towns. Three towns — Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and West Tisbury —  also fully passed the home rule petition. Tisbury passed it at its annual town meeting, but an unusual gap between town meeting and Tisbury’s annual town election on May 24 means that the town meeting vote isn’t yet ratified. Aquinnah will hold its town meeting and town election next month.
The housing bank would be funded through a 2 percent transfer fee imposed on the purchaser of a property sold for more than $1 million. So a property sold for $1.2 million would be charged a fee on the $200,000, under the housing bank legislation.
Supporters believe the overwhelming support on the Island for this legislation should spur the legislature into acting on the transfer fee.

Voters also approved two Proposition 2½ debt exclusions. One of them ratified an extra $1.3 million in funds recently approved at a special town meeting for the $12.6 million fire station and Tri-Town Ambulance headquarters project. That was approved 273-45.

The other debt exclusion concerned a new HVAC system for the Chilmark School, which was approved 268-50. The principal sum requested is $950,000, according to treasurer Dawn Barnes. Barnes said the figure was voted in at a special town meeting in November 2021. 

In a vote of 248-52, voters also supported a change in the town treasurer’s position from elected to appointed. The select board hired former West Tisbury principal assessor Dawn Barnes as the town’s new treasurer over the winter. The transition from elected to appointed was already approved at town meeting.

A nonbinding referendum that asks Holtec, owner of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, to find an alternative to dumping radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay received overwhelming support with a vote of 293-21.

Select board chair Jim Malkin ran unopposed for another three-year term. Malkin received 250 votes. There were 63 blanks, and a number of write-ins. Deborah Hancock got the highest number of write-ins, with six. “Elon Musk” also received a write-in vote. 

Eric Glasgow and Susan Murphy were re-elected to the planning board. Glasgow received 196 votes, and Murphy received 234 votes. Robert Rosenbaum got 68 votes, and there were 161 blanks.

Janet Weidner returned as town moderator with 287 votes. 

Matt Tobin was a write-in winner for cemetery commissioner with 48 votes. The next closest write-in candidate was Ross Seavey, at three votes. 

Keith Emin won a three-year seat as surveyor of wood, lumber, and bark as a write-in candidate, with eight votes. The next closest write-in candidate was Elisha Wiesner, with five votes.

Emin also won a one-year write-in seat as surveyor of wood, lumber, and bark, with five votes. Wiesner and Julie Flanders tied for the next most write-in votes, at three apiece.

Emin took home a three-year write-in seat as fence viewer with four votes. Flanders and Fred Khedouri tied for the next most votes, at three apiece. 



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