The longstanding issue of whether to build a connector road will come before Tisbury voters again at a special town meeting next week, this time in three parts, but with the total price tag unknown. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Tisbury selectmen voted to set a tax rate of $8.46 for the coming year, slightly above last year’s rate of $8.01.
And after discussion at the public tax classification hearing Tuesday, a majority of the board agreed that the town should take steps to gradually shift away from the practice of allowing a residential tax exemption for year-round homeowners.
For this year the residential tax exemption will be lowered from 20 to 18 per cent.
You could hardly accuse the drafters of the town of Tisbury’s Municipal Needs Assessment of understating the town’s planning problems.
“All the town’s major public buildings,” including the fire department, police and ambulance services, town hall and annex, says the first of the report’s findings, “are in a poor location and/or poor condition.”
Tisbury property taxes will be sharply higher in 2011, largely due to falling property values and the extra expense of the town’s new emergency services building.
For fiscal year 2011, residential tax rates will go up 14.3 per cent compared with the current year. Commercial rates will go up 14.6 per cent.
And rates are unlikely to come down significantly for several years, an outlook which prompted selectmen to suggest the town would have to hold off on significant further infrastructure projects in the near future.
While the proposed Oak Bluffs roundabout has received most of the press, Tisbury is quietly moving forward with another long-planned major traffic management infrastructure project: a proposed system of connector roads that would link Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road to State Road and bypass the summer crush in Vineyard Haven. But unlike the roundabout, the state hasn’t been forthcoming with money for the proposed $3 million project. Now it’s up to voters to decide whether to build the connector system.
Seeking to help struggling Vineyard Haven businesses, selectmen voted unanimously on Monday to shift the town’s tax burden away from commercial property owners. But a sharp drop in taxes for businesses will mean a slight uptick for resident and non-resident homeowners alike.
The action, taken at a special meeting following a public hearing on the matter, was intended to give an encouraging economic signal to current Tisbury business owners and make the town more attractive for prospective new businesses.