West Tisbury selectmen got a glimpse of the town’s first official flag this week.
The decision to make a town flag came about a month ago, after Rep. Tim Madden wrote a letter to the selectmen inviting the town to submit a flag to be displayed with other flags of the commonwealth at the State House in Boston for a celebration this June. Letters were sent to each town on the Island. West Tisbury crowdsourced a vote to choose the color of the flag at a previous meeting, and the color green won. The town seal is in the center of the flag. The new town flag will be on display in the Great Hall at the State House in June.
In April selectmen ordered three flags: one to be on display in Boston, another for the West Tisbury police station and a third to be displayed in the town hall.
At the selectmen’s meeting Wednesday, town administrator Jennifer Rand took the brand new green flag out of a clear plastic bag, unfolded it and presented it to the group. All three selectmen praised the flag.
But where and how to display the flag was an issue. Selectmen discussed the cost of framing the flag and debated where best to display the flag.
“Don’t you want it in a public space? Well, this is a public space, but somewhere more visible,” board chairman Cynthia Mitchell said. She suggested hanging the flag on a wall in the first floor lobby entryway, but the fact that the front door is unlocked longer than office hours was an issue. There was some discussion on whether someone would steal it.
“But the police would catch them,” said selectmen Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter, who is himself a police sergeant in town.
In the end the board decided to make a decision on the framing and placement of the new town flag at a later date.
In other business, acting on the recommendation of building inspector Joseph Tierney Jr., selectmen unanimously voted to approve increasing inspection fees from $50 to $60. The change takes effect July 1 and was already built into the town operating budget for the coming year. Town building permit fees changed in February.
Even with the increase, Mr. Tierney said the fees are still lower than other towns. He also told selectmen that the building department has been busy this year. In particular he noted an increase in people converting to green energy use in their homes. “We have a lot of energy permits out there, but nonetheless it still requires a permit and inspections. It takes time out of our schedule and we’re actually really busy,” he said.
He also asked selectmen to officially declare May 2014 building safety month. “It was proclaimed by the president as a time to celebrate our dedicated professionals who keep buildings secure,” Mr. Tierney said. “It’s building safety month and this is our proclamation.”
He said each week of building safety month has a different objective. The first week focuses on fire safety, the second week includes informing homeowners on weathering storms, the third is about surrounding buildings with safety and the final week is about building a “brighter, more efficient tomorrow.”
But Mrs. Mitchell was skeptical about the timing. “We are already halfway through the month,” she said.
Mr. Tierney said it is still a good time to remind people of building safety, especially renters on the Island and people returning to seasonal homes. The request was approved.
A town project to build a sidewalk in front of Alley’s saw discussion that will be continued at a later date.
Selectmen also heard a brief presentation from county manager Martina Thornton on an emerging county plan to buy the former Vineyard Nursing Association Building for the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living. Ms. Thornton is going in front of all the towns seeking support for the plan. Special legislation would be needed in order for the county to buy the building through a bond issue. Selectmen had questions about the timing of the purchase and encouraged Ms. Thornton to do more research, but Mrs. Mitchell and selectman Richard Knabel gave their blessing to pursuit of the project. Mr. Manter abstained.
Additionally, selectmen approved 13 appointments to different committees, commissions and town positions.