Tisbury voters will be asked to approve some $700,000 for a better place to put their garbage and another $640,000 for a better place to put their emergency services at a Sept. 30 special town meeting.
The precise details on the waste disposal proposal still are being worked out, but the deal would involve Tisbury and Oak Bluffs rejoining the other four Island towns in a single waste district, and acquiring land adjacent to the current waste district site in Edgartown for some $1.4 million.
The cost would be split between the two towns and involve a three-year lease of the land at a cost of some $100,000 per year, with the lease payments applied against the purchase price after that time.
“The actual numbers are still being discussed,” said Tisbury department of public works director Fred LaPiana yesterday. “But those are the rough costs.”
Currently four towns — Edgartown, West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah — are part of one collection district while Oak Bluffs and Tisbury have separate arrangements. There has been talk for years about reuniting all six towns into a single regional waste disposal district.
“The piece of property being discussed, which is adjacent to the existing district in Edgartown, will be enough to take all the waste streams,” Mr. LaPiana said.
As well as the waste disposal question, Tisbury residents will have a second big ticket item to consider at the special town meeting — taking the first, vital step to reorder the town’s fractured municipal infrastructure.
Selectmen are seeking approval for a new site for an emergency services facility, and want to borrow $640,000 to design it.
But more than the construction of a new emergency services building hangs on the decision, as the town’s municipal needs assessment made clear when it was released earlier this year and as cochairman of the town planning board, Henry Stephenson, stressed again.
If the first domino — the new emergency services facility — fails to fall, then all the others lined up under the municipal needs plan will not fall either.
“Everything happens in sequence, under the plan,” Mr. Stephenson said. “If we don’t make the decision for this, then we have to reshape our options all down the line.”
The master plan found that all the town’s major public buildings, including the fire department, police and ambulance services, town hall and annex are in poor locations, and many of them are in poor condition.
The first priority identified in the plan was finding a new home for the ambulance and fire departments, currently located in the most traffic-snarled parts of downtown. The fire department building literally cannot fit new vehicles.
But finding an alternative site proved problematic. The preferred site was the current town hall annex on Spring street, right across from the elementary school.
The knock-on effect of that is moving the town hall annex and the departments housed there (building inspector, health inspector, planning board and zoning board of appeals). The suggestion is that they go into a new building, at least until a new town hall is built — at a yet-to-be determined location — on the current department of public works property off High Point Road.
After concerns were raised about the safety of school children who might be endangered by arriving and departing emergency services vehicles, the planning board again looked at other options, before coming back to the annex.
It now appears that school leaders are on board with the proposal — even if some parents still are not — following further planning to reorganize access, parking and playground facilities at the school.
There also were concerns about whether the annex site was large enough to cater to current and future needs, but a recent consultant’s report determined it is adequate.
“It makes life a bit complicated that we will have to relocate the annex, at least temporarily,” said Mr. Stephenson, “and then at the end of five or six years, consolidate all town hall functions at another site.”
He continued: “We would like the town to designate a site up by DPW, but we also want to look at other possibilities and see how they compare. We could build, or lease, or buy and resell other accommodation for those functions now housed at the annex.
“We need about 2,500 square feet. Over the winter we want to study all those options.”
There also would have to be much more detailed discussion about the school’s needs, particularly for parking, he said.
But there was no point to all that unless the first step, getting formal agreement on the plan to move the emergency services facility, succeeds. Hence the need for the special town meeting,
Apart from the two articles relating to emergency services and one for the transfer station lease, there are eight other matters on the warrant — many of them simple housekeeping issues. But one is more significant and complicated and involves the acquisition of an easement which would give the town control of land for two of the three legs for a new connector road aimed at relieving pressure at the intersection of State and Edgartown Roads.
The proposed deal involves a swap of about 5,000 square feet of land for a 30-foot easement at the Holmes Hole Road end of the project.
In other warrant items, the library is asking to have a library trustee added to the town cabinet, which would increase cabinet members from nine to 10, and a group of voters has petitioned to have the starting time for town meetings changed from 7:30 to 7 p.m.