West Tisbury voters will face a 48-article warrant at the annual town meeting Tuesday that includes a controversial request to fund an engineering study for dredging the Mill Pond, $150,000 in Community Preservation Act spending to restore the First Congregational Church and a $13.2 million budget for the coming year.

Voters will also consider an overhaul of the town personnel bylaw that establishes new pay scales and guidelines for employee benefits, a new bylaw regulating the construction of wind energy systems and nearly $400,000 in funding requests for various affordable housing initiatives.

The town meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the West Tisbury School.

In recent years the annual town meeting has finished up in a single night. But considering the size of this year’s warrant, town moderator Patrick Gregory has said he does not plan to keep voters late into the night, and hinted this year’s political season could spill over into a second night.

“I don’t like to go beyond 10 p.m. or 10:15 p.m.,” Mr. Gregory said at a recent selectmen’s meeting. “If it’s headed that way, I will move things to the next night.”

It’s unclear what the hot issue will be this year, if there is one at all, but one article that has already generated a great deal of discussion is the request for $25,000 for engineering and environmental studies of the Mill Pond, the historic man-made pond next to the town police headquarters on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. The money would be taken from Community Preservation Act funds and is considered a first step toward eventually dredging the pond.

The article was placed on the warrant at the request of the Mill Pond committee, appointed by the selectmen, which believes the pond needs to be dredged to prevent it from drying up and becoming a marsh. Some residents oppose the plan and believe the pond can be kept as a pond with simpler and less costly measures like pulling weeds or increasing the height of the dam on the pond’s southern edge.

Bob Woodruff, chairman of the Mill Pond committee, believes dredging is the best and perhaps only means of preserving the pond. “That pond cannot repair itself, it’s up to us. There is no question we are going to see the pond start to turn into a marsh in the coming years, unless we do something about it,” he said.

Kent Healy, a former member of the pond committee who stepped down last year after clashing with his colleagues, has another view. “I don’t see the evidence to support it. If you show me the proof, I might support it, but I haven’t seen it yet,” he said last week.

Voters will also consider using $150,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to help restore the First Congregational Church in the town center; the money would be used to build a basement under the church and is part of a larger renovation project supported by private funding.

The request came from the church, not the town; this is allowed under Community Preservation Act guidelines.

The Rev. Cathlin Baker, minister of the church, said the funding would go a long way toward preserving a historic landmark.

“When I talk to people, many of them say they think of our church and the town hall as the heart of the town center,” she said.

Voters will take up a $13.2 million budget that calls for a spending increase of 1.7 per cent. Over the past five years the town has avoided large increases in spending and Proposition 2 1/2 overrides; the increase to the tax levy over that period has ranged from .5 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

Town accountant Bruce Stone said a majority of the increase this year can be tracked to the regional high school assessments, which went up about $97,000 or 16.5 per cent; and the up-Island school assessments, which went up about $141,000, or 2.6 per cent. The town spends about 59 per cent of its total budget on education, and is required by law to pay the school assessments.

Mr. Stone said the next biggest expense is the police department, which went from $813,000 to $821,000. Meanwhile, the cost of health insurance for town employees increased around $35,000, or 8.2 per cent, he said.

Voters will be asked to appropriate $21,877 to pay for proposed changes to the town’s pay schedules for employees; a related article would initiate changes to the personnel bylaw, establishing new titles for some employees, changing some pay rates, and placing limits on the accumulation of overtime, holidays, vacation and sick leave.

Among other things the article would change the position of executive secretary to town administrator, and would also change the requirements for laying off an employee.

A new wind energy bylaw, would establish a special permit process for town residents who want to put up wind turbines.

Voters will consider a series of articles that would allocate nearly $400,000 in Community Preservation Act funding for various affordable housing initiatives.

One asks for $70,000 to support second mortgage loans under the Helm Loan Fund program administered by the Island Affordable Housing Fund, for qualified buyers of affordable housing in town.

Another would use $104,000 in CPA money to support the rental assistance program administered by the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority. Another would put $225,000 into a newly created West Tisbury housing trust fund administered by the town affordable housing committee and selectmen.

Voters will also consider:

• A bylaw prohibiting heliports in all areas of town except the Martha’s Vineyard airport.

• A request for $10,000 to buy a microfiche reader to begin permanently conserving assessors record cards on microfilm.

• A request for $4,500 to install lights along the south side of the public library and Howes House parking lot.

• A request for $15,000 to hire a facilities manager for town-owned buildings.

The annual town election is Thursday, April 14; there are no contested races on the ballot. Cynthia Mitchell, a former longtime selectman and town treasurer, is running unopposed for selectman to fill the seat being vacated by Dianne Powers. There are no override questions on the ballot. Polling hours are noon to 8 p.m. at the public safety building.