It’s been two years since Oak Bluffs residents convened for town meetings focused on cutting the budget, and this year’s annual town meeting agenda represents a turn in a new direction: while the budget is still modest, the town is quietly starting to return to regular business.

Paving roads and a new fire engine are on the annual town meeting warrant, as is a hot topic not fiscal in nature: the annual monster shark tournament. Oak Bluffs voters will gather Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Martha’s Vineyard High School Performing Arts Center for both special and annual town meetings. Moderator Jesse (Jack) Law 3rd will preside.

Town may build a $426,000 fuel facility at the Oak Bluffs harbor. — Alison L. Mead

The town will be asked to approve a $25.5 million budget, an increase of two per cent over last year. During a recent budget preview session, town administrator Robert Whritenour called the budget lean and predicted the town’s free cash — once almost $1 million in the negative — should be positive by the end of fiscal year 2014. “I could not be more confident in the annual budget,” the town administrator said, noting Oak Bluffs is in the second year of a five-year financial stability program. “We worked closely with departments to get a budget that meets basic services and the needs of the town but is very conservative.”

While last year’s town meeting focused on problems with town buildings, this year the focus is on roads and public safety vehicles.

“I look forward to updating the town on our progress with the financial stability, where we’re going and what we’ve done so far,” Mr. Whritenour said. “I really have a good feeling going into the town meeting that things are becoming much more stable in our town government.” The three-item special town meeting warrant seeks voter approval for $75,000 for designing the repair of coastal structures that were damaged in Hurricane Sandy and February’s snowstorm. To receive federal emergency reimbursement, Mr. Whritenour has said, the town is required to have full engineering analysis. Federal disaster relief could cover 75 per cent of the design work and eventual repair.

A town-owned harbor fuel facility is also up for discussion, with the town proposing $426,000 to build a fuel dispensing facility at the Oak Bluffs harbor. At recent meetings before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, harbor master Todd Alexander has said with a privately-operated facility out of operation since an oil spill last summer, the town has been without a fuel facility at the harbor. He said it is important for the town harbor to have a fuel operation.

The annual town meeting warrant, with 22 articles, proposes relatively little spending, but one big ticket item is $975,146 for a roadway improvement plan. Fifteen town roads are listed in poor condition, and Circuit avenue between Pennacook and Masonic is listed as in failed condition. The total project is more than $1.6 million but the town would use $685,345 in chapter 90 funds to offset the town’s expenses.

“I think the town hasn’t been able in recent years to keep up with the condition of the roads,” Mr. Whritenour said, noting that not enough state money has been coming in. But now that the town is on more solid financial footing, he said, it’s important to protect infrastructure. “If we let [the roads] deteriorate to a certain point, it will be more expensive to bring them back,” he said. “We really have to come in and bring them up to a certain standard.”

In an item submitted by the selectmen, the park commission and the community preservation committee, the town will be asked to spend $220,000 to buy and landscape a sliver of land (0.2 acres) at 16 Circuit avenue that connects with Kennebec avenue. The cost of the land is $188,100, and $31,900 would cover legal, acquisition and landscaping costs. The idea was unpopular with the finance and advisory committee, which voted not to recommend it.

County Road is one of 15 roads listed in poor condition. — Alison L. Mead

Mr. Whritenour said the proposal is likely to be postponed until a later date.

The town Community Preservation Committee recommends over $507,000 in projects, including $50,000 for an Oak Bluffs bikeway connection, $50,000 for the final engineering and permitting for Farm Pond restoration, and $32,000 to be spent restoring stained glass windows at Trinity Methodist Church.

A joint plan with Edgartown proposes $49,050 for planting oyster seeds in the Major’s Cove portion of Sengekontacket Pond to aid the health of the pond, which has high nitrogen levels.

A project to maintain and preserve town historic records at $45,000 is also on the warrant. Mr. Whritenour said the project was first proposed by assessors. “Records management has never been a very strong suit of the town,” he said, and the project would identify what records are historically important — such as original plans for land in town. The historical preservation project will involve assessing records to determine important documents and storing them in a digital format.

The finance and advisory board voted favorably for all the community preservation projects except for the Sengekontacket oyster project.

Several articles propose spending money from the town’s ambulance reserve fund, including $118,000 for three marked police cruisers. The cruisers would replace existing 2010 cruisers.

Another $100,000 from the reserve fund would go toward the first of five lease installments on a new engine 2 (class A pumper) truck for the fire department. The cost comes at the end of payments for the a ladder truck, so annual fire payments will stay consistent.

Like other towns, Oak Bluffs proposes a temporary moratorium of up to one year on medical marijuana dispensaries in town, as well as a bylaw prohibiting public consumption of marijuana.

Oak Bluffs will also be asked to pay for part of the design of a new school superintendent’s office building. The town share is $45,172, a sum the selectmen hesitated at while reviewing the warrant, questioning the cost and whether the town could afford it. The finance and advisory board voted against the article.

Planting oyster seeds in Major’s Cove may aid health of pond. — Ray Ewing

An article fixing compensation for some elected officials may spark debate. Town tree warden Joseph deBettencourt appeared before the selectmen in March to ask to have his $1,500 stipend restored. Selectmen agreed to the request, but later questioned which elected officials should be compensated and how much. The article about compensation, which allows $3,000 for selectmen and $4,500 for the board chairman, $500 for constables and pay for the town clerk and the tree warden was not approved by the finance and advisory board.

Another article would save some taxpayers, and presumably the town, some money. Article 19 calls for a tax exemption on personal property valued under $3,000. In some cases, Mr. Whritenour said, these bills are so small that the town loses money in printing and sending a bill.

Finally, voters will be asked to vote on a nonbinding resolution, submitted by petition, that would make any shark fishing tournaments held in Oak Bluffs catch and release only. The annual Monster Shark Tournament, hosted by the Boston Big Game Fishing Club, takes place every summer in the Oak Bluffs harbor. There have been protests by some about the practice of hanging dead sharks in the harbor, though tournament organizers have said the tournament is largely catch and release already. In 2007, voters weighed in on a shark tournament question, and backed the tournament. A nonbinding question about the tournament is also on the ballot, along with a Proposition 2 1/2 override question for the roadway improvements.

The annual town election takes place Thursday at the town library; polls are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The lone contested race is for the water district commission, with incumbent Michael S. deBettencourt facing a challenge from George E. Brown. Selectman Gail M. Barmakian is running unopposed for her second term.

Town Warrant

Special Town Meeting