Budget cuts prompt OBA to fundraise for Christmas 

A fundraiser is underway to light up the tree on Sunset Lake. — Courtesy Kathleen Cowley's GoFun

Members of the Oak Bluffs Business Association (OBA) have created a fundraising campaign in order to cover the costs of erecting the Sunset Lake Christmas tree for the upcoming holiday season. 

Due to budget constraints, the town had decided to opt out of decorating the town as it has in the past. 

Renee Balter, one of the founders of the OBA, told The Times that the town has displayed a tree at Sunset Lake for a number of years. “This year they said they have budget cuts, and so they’re cutting out the tree in the lake,” Balter said; “a lot of people are kind of upset about it.”

Balter said the town’s quote for the display and lighting of the tree at Sunset Lake is $4,000 — “a ridiculous amount of money” to be budgeted for the sole tree, she said.

“It’s a tree that gets donated by Mahoney’s, and a few strings of lights, and a raft … How much could one tree cost?”

Many people put up trees in their house for the holidays, Balter said: “Does it cost everybody $4,000 to light a tree? I don’t get it.” 

Paul Mahoney, owner of Jardin Mahoney, confirmed in a call with The Times that the garden center does in fact donate the trees used for Oak Bluffs holiday time — both at Sunset Lake and Healy Square. 

Town officials did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding cost estimates for displaying and lighting the Sunset Lake tree.

Despite any doubts of whether the quoted cost of displaying the Sunset Lake Christmas tree is accurate or obtainable, the fundraising campaign spearheaded by OBA member Kathleen Cowley via GoFundMe has already garnered more than half of its goal of $4,400 as of Tuesday morning.