The West Tisbury select board contemplated whether a property on State Road could be used for town employee housing during a Wednesday, June 8, meeting.
West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand said she asked Dukes County Regional Housing Authority executive director David Vigneault about this possibility.
“The answer I got back was that when they go out to choose candidates for the housing, municipal employment can be a preference category. However, they’re only enforced for the initial offer, and then there’s a waitlist rank that would take precedence,” Rand said. “On top of that, there is the complication that — depending on the funding source — the municipal employee’s income might be a limiting factor, because while they can’t find housing, they are paid well enough they wouldn’t qualify for this housing either.”
Vigneault did not know of a way to reserve housing for municipal employees beyond the initial offer, and suggested taking the issue to town counsel.
Board member Skipper Manter said there was “no need to reach out to counsel” as this was just a question he was wondering about. He said the “only way it would work” would be if the town owned the property and paid for it completely with its own funds, with which Rand concurred.
“Which might be worth looking at sometime. We’re not in a crisis mode here,” Manter said.
Island Housing Trust board of directors president Doug Ruskin said private donations could also contribute to employee housing, not just through the town’s funds.
“But certainly, CPA (Community Preservation Act) and state funding creates a whole list of rules,” Ruskin said.
In other business, the board reviewed and marked up the food truck regulations of Wellfleet and Tisbury in preparation to get public input. This was a suggestion town counsel Ron Rappaport made during a previous meeting.
“They’re almost carbon copies of each other,” Manter said about the two towns’ regulations. “Each one has something, I think, we can use together.”
A public hearing was held for Robert Myhill and Sarah Myhill’s request to store 3,000 gallons of propane. West Tisbury Fire Chief Greg Pachico said any amount over 2,000 gallons needs to go through him and West Tisbury building inspector Joseph Tierney. Pachico said the Myhills already have a 1,000-gallon propane tank and a 500-gallon propane tank, and the proposed tanks are spread out enough that it won’t be an issue. Both Pachico and Tierney approved the storage amount. The board unanimously approved the installation of the tank.
The board unanimously appointed board member Jessica Miller to the Martha’s Vineyard housing bank review committee.
The board voted 2-0 to approve the expenditure of up to $35,383.19 from the reserve fund to pay separation benefits to resigning West Tisbury Police Officer Philip Hollinger, who left to take a job in Tisbury, and retiring Police Officer Leomar De Oliveira. The separation benefits owed are $12,364.23 to Hollinger and $23,018.96 to De Oliveira. Manter abstained from voting since he is currently the lieutenant at the West Tisbury Police Department.
To fill these gaps left by the retirement and resignation, Connor Bettencourt, Daniel Durawa, Mark Nickowal, and Brad Fielder were hired as full-time officers by the West Tisbury Police Department. Each of them will come into the department with three-year contracts starting at various points during the summer months. Bettencourt has been a West Tisbury reserve officer for three years prior to this promotion. Nickowal has experience in law enforcement through the Oak Bluffs Police Department, which is where he got connected with the West Tisbury Police Department. Durawa and Fielder are still training at the Municipal Police Officers Academy, so their hirings are contingent upon successful completion of their studies. The department also hired De Oliveira as a reserve officer to fill the demands of the summer season. The board voted 2-0 to approve the hirings. Manter again abstained from voting since he is the current lieutenant of the West Tisbury Police Department.
The board unanimously approved renewing Lambert’s Cove Inn’s seasonal beer and wine license.
The board unanimously voted to accept a donated wood chipper.
Meanwhile, the board received an invitation from Edgartown to join in the town’s Fourth of July Parade.