In an effort to maintain town buildings, the West Tisbury selectmen last week agreed to reexamine how they budget for large maintenance projects.

Town treasurer Kathy Logue suggested placing a line item in the town budget for major maintenance expenses on all town buildings and grounds. Currently each department budgets for their maintenance individually. Routine cleaning and custodial work would still fall under departmental budgets.

Ms. Logue said it is an unfair expectation for department heads to act as building managers.

“You’re paying people who are primarily educators, elder services, library, police officers, fire department people to be building managers,” she said. “It’s not what they are trained to do, so that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

By centralizing the maintenance budget, a few projects could be completed each year, instead of portions of several projects, she said and new buildings like the library and police station would be kept in top condition. For the change to work, the town must be up to date with the needs of all of its buildings for each upcoming year. The selectmen said they would not be adverse to hiring someone to assist the facilities manager with the additional work.

“If we can get a facilities management plan and we have, town wide, an ongoing assessment of what do we need to do to all of our buildings and grounds in the next year, in the next five years and even longer term than that, it might make sense at that point to pull those budget elements back centralized,” said Ms. Logue.

Selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd suggested making a maintenance warrant article each year instead of adding to the town budget, which the selectmen agreed to. He also said centralizing the maintenance funds would be a helpful way to keep maintenance projects from getting postponed.

“The first thing to go is the maintenance because you say, oh, we’ll do it next year,” he said. “But next year never comes.”

Selectman Cynthia Mitchell also supported the idea, and suggested forming a small committee to help it get off the ground.

“We’re talking about consolidating the maintenance fund,” said Ms. Mitchell. “To me that makes a lot of sense.”

Town administrator Jen Rand and Ms. Logue will work on a scope budget for the proposed warrant article and gather more information about forming the committee. They will present their findings to selectmen in about three weeks.