The Aquinnah fire chief said this week that public safety concerns in the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) tribal housing community have been put to rest following a meeting with tribal leaders.
Fire chief Simon Bollin told the selectmen Tuesday that a recent meeting among the fire department, tribal housing administrator and tribal director of office management clarified fire code standards and inspection issues.
“It was a really good meeting,” he said. “We hashed out a lot of the issues that were hung up on the past and alleviated a lot of my issues that I had. Moving forward, it will be a lot better.”
Last month Mr. Bollin raised concerns with the selectmen about lack of access to the tribal housing complex for fire safety inspections. “We can move forward from there in a positive way between everybody,” he said. “I’m really glad [the meeting] happened.”
Both the town and tribe still need to sign off on an updated joint public safety agreement which spells out shared services between the two governments.
Mr. Bollin said the town, Chilmark, West Tisbury and the tribe will conduct a mass casualty incident drill this weekend.
In other fire-related business, the selectmen declared old air packs as surplus property. The air packs will be sent to St. Vincent in the Caribbean as part of a sister Island program with the Vineyard.
The selectmen also approved dates for the commercial scallop season. Menemsha Pond will open for commercial scalloping beginning Dec. 2 with a daily limit of two bushels. Shellfish committee chairman William (Buddy) Vanderhoop said a recent visit from the state environmental police dive team predicted a good year.
“The great thing is that we left it closed until this time because the water was still warm, the gonads were still orange which means they can spawn one more time,” he said. “It’s to our benefit to let them grow and spawn to their maximum. The scallops taste better and yield more when the water gets cooled down.”
Last year, Aquinnah had such a banner year for scalloping that it extended the season into June, a first in the commonwealth.
Selectmen also set a tax rate of $4.76 per thousand for the coming year, up from $4.32 last year. Assessor Angela Cywinski said the increase was necessary largely due to $230,000 in override monies approved at the annual town meeting.