Oak Bluffs faces 9 percent budget increase from two years ago

Oak Bluffs faces budget increase. —MV Times

O.B. voters will consider an eight-article special town meeting warrant and a 49-article annual town meeting warrant, in addition to a $37.6 million budget: a 6.1 percent increase from last year, and a 9.6 percent increase from 2021. 

Some of the largest expenditures include $250,000 for improvements to the Harbor East Chop bulkhead, $325,000 to fund the second phase of the Farm Pond Culvert replacement, and $200,000 for the acquisition of a replacement loader for the highway department. All three are contingent upon a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion ballot vote approval. 

Voters will consider allocating the town’s share of $457,800 to conduct an Island-wide feasibility study regarding the replacement of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, per the regional school agreement; $75,000 for the installation of security cameras and fiber network upgrades throughout town; $50,000 to help fund the annual Oak Bluffs summer fireworks, and $15,000 for repairs, upgrades, and harbor maintenance. 

Other warrant articles include the request of $20,000 to fund costs associated with the town’s holiday light displays, $20,000 to purchase new computers for the town library, and $80,000 for dredging around Little Bridge, in order to aid in the flushing of Sengekontacket Pond, 

At the request of the Oak Bluffs Police Department, voters will consider allocating $75,000 for a feasibility study of the town’s police station, to determine how to move forward with building upgrades or possible replacement, along with $50,000 for immediate repairs. 

OBPD will also be asking for $30,500 to fund equipment and lockers, which will, for the first time, introduce lockers into the women’s locker room.

Voters will also take up the so-called nip ban, along with proposed amendments to the town’s cemetery regulations, which will allow for the option of “green burials” — where the deceased is buried in a casket made of softwood or other biodegradable materials, along with the current cement or bronze interment containers. 

Added to the warrant by the select board, an article that would prohibit acting members of the select board from holding more than one elected office at a time will also be up for consideration.