West Tisbury voters may have a hot election race in their town, but their annual town meeting contains just 28 articles, few of which are expected to generate much controversy.
The meeting gets under way Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the West Tisbury School gymnasium.
Spending issues dominate the warrant, with four override questions asking voters to approve a total of $465,000 for schools, a new ambulance and a feasibility study for a library addition. Overall, the $9,297,778 town budget for next year is up about eight per cent.
The up-Island school district and the regional high school need extra money from the town because both districts are expecting less state aid next year. Voters will be asked to approve a $335,568 override for the up-Island district and another $75,215 for the high school.
West Tisbury's portion of the up-Island budget stands at about $4 million, up 4.5 per cent from this year. West Tisbury School principal Dr. Elaine Pace said the increase is due mostly to teacher salary increases negotiated two years ago.
"Less than $500,000 is actually discretionary," said Ms. Pace. Enrollment in the school is expected to remain steady at about 390 students, she said.
She pointed out that while West Tisbury students make up 72 per cent of the student population, taxpayers in town shoulder just 68 per cent of the costs.
Ms. Pace is anticipating another school issue which could spark discussion. Two articles ask voters whether the town should remain in the up-Island region, but one of those articles might be tabled by the finance committee if they reach an agreement with school officials over concerns about sharing costs with Aquinnah and Chilmark.
An affordable housing measure, put before voters across the Island, will also be part of West Tisbury's warrant. The article asks voters to endorse state legislation that would allow the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority to establish deed restrictions on affordable housing to ensure that such properties remain affordable in perpetuity.
The proposal would also raise the affordable housing threshhold to include people who earn up to 150 per cent of the county median income, or $79,500 for a family of three.
A zoning bylaw amendment asks voters to add moped rental and sales operations to the list of uses specifically prohibited in town. If passed, it would put moped rental shops in the same class as golf courses, driving ranges and fast food restaurants.
Part of that same article also calls for minor changes to other zoning bylaws. One amendment would allow the town and then the regional housing authority rights of first refusal to buy a mortgage on an affordable housing unit if the bank foreclosed.
Three separate articles ask voters to approve spending $47,000 on road repairs and resurfacing. Another proposal seeks approval for $4,000 for maintenance of the Lambert's Cove Beach parking lot.
Other money requests are as follows:
* $4,500 for the town share of the Martha's Vineyard Drug Task Force.
* $4,290 to pay the town share for the Cape Light Compact.
* $9,000 from free cash to pay for a financial audit of the town.
* $3,824 for the town share of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority.
* $12,000 to pay the town's share for additional summer staff for the Tri-Town Ambulance Service.