Chilmark town meeting considers electric vehicles, housing

Aside from a contentious issue on tennis, the town has several funding requests going forward on Tuesday.

The Chilmark annual town meeting will take place at the community center. —MV Times

On Tuesday, April 23, Chilmark voters will decide the fate of 33 warrant articles at the annual town meeting.

Questions before voters will cover funding for more than a dozen Community Preservation funding opportunities, the purchase of new electric vehicles for the town, and a much-anticipated bylaw amendment to change the management of town-owned tennis courts.

Community Preservation will be a big focus at the town meeting, as Article 31 involves 13 different funding opportunities. These include $100,000 for the town housing committee’s rental-assistance program, multiple $25,000 items for funding affordable housing projects, $39,000 to preserve the town’s historic Brickyard and improve visitor access, and around $30,000 to rehabilitate the community center’s outdoor basketball courts.

Chilmark Police, Fire, and other departments will also be looking to secure new electric vehicles at the annual town meeting.

Town administrator Timothy Carroll said during the April 16 select board meeting that Chilmark plans to buy a Ford Lightning for the police department — Article 8 would approve spending $75,000 from the town’s police vehicle stabilization fund for a new electric pickup truck.

Article 9 also concerns spending around $25,000 from the fire stabilization fund, on gear and equipment for the fire department’s Engine 121. And for Article 22, the fire department will look to approve spending of $22,000 on an off-road utility task vehicle (UTV).

Chilmark voters next week will also decide whether to increase the local room occupancy excise tax from 4 to 6 percent. This tax covers transfers of occupancy of a room or rooms in a bed and breakfast, hotel, lodging house, short-term rental, or motel. This is Article 30 in the warrant.

Many voters will be anticipating the meeting’s second-to-last article, which involves the creation of a public committee to manage the town-owned tennis courts throughout the year. If approved, the article would transfer management of the courts away from the Chilmark town affairs council, which currently manages the courts and tennis programs during the summer. Instead, the article would establish a year-round town tennis committee (TTC) as the new manager of these courts, and would also involve creating a revolving fund.

In its recent meeting, the select board did favor postponing an article until the fall special town meeting. This article, No. 17, is to approve $26,000 to purchase an electric SUV/pickup for the town building inspector and facilities manager.

However, town administrator Timothy Carroll explained at a recent select board meeting that after contacting Ford to ask about buying their Maverick pickup model, he learned that the company does not make an electric vehicle of that model, and makes only hybrid or gas-powered options.

To buy a suitable electric vehicle, Carroll said, could cost significantly more than stated in the warrant article. Buying another Ford Lightning, for example, could cost around $60,000 without the upgrades needed for police use.

Select board member Bill Rossi felt that the town should not so significantly increase the amount of money requested for that article, and board member Marie Larsen insisted that the vehicle acquired should be all-electric.

The town meeting will be held at 7 pm at the Chilmark Community Center, 520 State Road.


  1. Marie Larsen wants to feel good and purchase an electric truck. These are taxpayer dollars and that wasteful spending should be done by private citizens and not public money. Of course up to the town to decide if they want to be foolish with an electric truck. rational thinking dictates hybrid is much better than full on electric.

    • Bob, how much more will electric cost?
      Will the Island breath easier?
      Hybrid is the worst of both world’s?
      Should a decision of this important be left to we the people?
      Look at what we the people decided in the 2020 election and the windmills.
      We need strong, singular, leadership to come to make the decisions for all of mankind.

    • Bob, gasoline prices are going to soar.
      That electric vehicle will be a bargain.
      Therefore, an excellent use of taxpayer funds.

      • Mary an electric vehicle bought yesterday, today and in the near future will never be a bargain as they will be in the hazardous junk yard before gasoline prices become to high. Have you looked at the cost of these electric vehicles? they are not a good use of taxpayer money and only the wealthy can afford to pay the price so they feel good about themselves.

        • Bob, non-wealthy people have often purchased used cars to save a few dollars. There are electric used vehicles available for sale for non-wealthy people.
          Because it costs a lot of money to retool for a new car model, those costs will be borne by car companies now and in the next few years. I would expect the competition to become fierce in the car manufacturing world, with electric cars to balance out at between $25,000 to $35,000 for new cars (using current money). Tesla is using their current profits (which are not unsubstantial) to fund other projects (say, Space X, but it might be others).
          The other car manufacturers will hold profits as high as they can for as long as they can (obviously). But, since there are many fewer parts to an electric car, it doesn’t cost as much to develop, build, or maintain. (If you’re a car repair person, get ready for unemployment). The car companies are going to make money like it’s growing on trees—for a minute. Then we will see prices drop like a rock. The lithium mines will come online and batteries will be cheap as dirt (because they are! 🤣🤣).
          In the very near future, the actual cost to build an electric car is going to be very, very small. And if you buy your own solar panels, the cost to operate will be about $2,000 to operate for ten years!!
          According to AAA, it costs about $10,000 per year for maintenance on a gasoline car. An electric car is almost $zero!
          When people realize that transportation from an electric car is almost free, they will switch.
          By the way, the car companies are committing to all-electric car manufacturing in the near future, not because they are altruistic, but because it supports their bottom-line.
          Buggy whip manufacturing is now a craft, not a business. Get ready for gasoline cars to join the museum industry.

        • Hoteliers, sit-down restaurants, air bnb hosts, and grocery stores will be rewarded with more customers when they provide the infrastructure for car charging. If they buy their own solar panels those businesses can offer the charging amenities free of charge to their customers.

  2. Bob, check out car fires in electric cars (almost none last year), gasoline cars (over 190,000 last year), and hybrid cars—the most dangerous version of cars per car fires.

  3. Taxpayers: if you purchase the solar panels to operate the electric vehicles, it costs about $2000 per ten years to run electric vs about $2000 per year to operate a gasoline car. (And that’s before gas prices go up).
    Electric cars are nearly zero dollars to maintain because they don’t have engines and transmissions. No belts to replace, no oil changes, and no changing out the carburetor.
    Electric cars are a good value.
    Buying electric cars for government use is good stewardship of taxpayer money.

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