A $28.4 million operating budget tops the warrants for Oak Bluffs special and annual town meetings next Tuesday. Voters will consider changing town zoning laws to allow manufacturing and light manufacturing by special permit on commercially zoned property, vote on a complicated land swap to restore public access to the Windemere neighborhood near the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and decide whether to purchase a mechanical beach rake for use on town beaches. They will also decide spending measures which include three new police cruisers for the police department, a new command vehicle for the fire department, and vehicles for the assessing department, shellfish department, and highway department.

A short two-article special town meeting is scheduled for the same night. The special town meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the high school Performing Arts Center, followed immediately by the annual meeting. Town moderator Jesse Law will preside. There are 32 articles on the annual warrant.

The 2017 operating budget represents a 4.5 per cent increase in spending over the previous year. It includes a 2.5 per cent cost of living adjustment for town employees.

Town administrator Bob Whritenour said school costs slightly decreased this year.

“We’re extremely fortunate that we have a slight reduction in the number of high school students,” he said. “In the past two years their budget has increased our local assessment in Oak Bluffs by 25 per cent. If that had happened again, we would be forced to have a [Proposition 2 1/2] override.”

The cost of the new fire station is reflected in a sharp increase in the payments on the town’s principal debt, which will increase to $2.2 million, up $680,677, or 44.1 per cent. The new debt is also reflected in increasing interest payments. Oak Bluffs has budgeted $620,413 for interest payments on the debt, a hike of 27.2 per cent.

Voters will decide whether to add $125,000 to the same amount voted last year, to contribute a total of $250,000 in matching funds toward a $1 million federal grant to replace a culvert that connects Farm Pond to the ocean.

A proposed zoning change to allow manufacturing and light manufacturing by special permit in the town’s zoned business district has already sparked debate and Michael Santoro, chairman of the selectmen, said he expects plenty of discussion at town meeting. The change would allow a group which wants to open a small distillery to make spirits, and pack it for shipment.

“It has to be by special permit,” Mr. Santoro said. “It’s not automatic. There are a lot of things that would have to happen. They would have to go before the planning board, it would probably have to go before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.”

He said some long-established businesses within the commercial district may already be technically classified as light manufacturing,

“There’s a fine line,” he said. “It allows manufacturing of a product. There are people that are worried it could create problems for them.”

A series of three zoning changes is aimed at settling a long dispute over the entrance to the Windermere neighborhood near the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

The articles would essentially swap land to make the current road configuration a public way.

Approval of the articles “would provide the residents of the Windermere neighborhood with renewed access to their homes via a public way,” according to the executive summary printed in the warrant booklet. “The neighborhood had this access but lost it when the hospital was expanded and built over a portion of the existing public way.”

Mr. Santoro framed the land swap as a practical solution.

“It’s just correcting something that should have been done when the construction of the hospital took place,” he said. “The hospital is built on what was the extension road, so short of tearing down the hospital, there’s not much else that can be done.”

Voters will also be asked to accept new flood zone maps generated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The new maps add 166 acres of land 311 structures to the existing flood hazard zones. Property owners who were added to the flood zones are likely required to purchase flood insurance from the federal government, and those who were previously classified as a flood hazard may see mandatory insurance rates rise sharply.

If voters reject the maps, the town would face consequences. Property owners would not be able to purchase insurance from the national flood insurance program, and the town would not be eligible for federal funds for damage from ocean storms or other natural disasters.

The last article on the warrant was submitted by citizen’s petition. It asks voters to spend $40,052 to buy a mechanical beach rake for cleaning and grooming beaches, ball fields, and town parks.

An informal citizens beach committee backed the petition drive for the article; the committee has been openly critical of town officials and the condition of town beaches over the past several years. Committee members say the equipment would remove seaweed and small pebbles from the beaches, making them cleaner and more enjoyable for residents and visitors.

The town conservation commission opposes the purchase, saying among other things that use of the rake may not be allowed under state environmental rules, and that there is no plan or funding in place for which town department would house and operate the equipment. Selectmen have also been skeptical of the idea.

“I think more research has to go into it, more vetting needs to happen,” said Mr. Santoro. “There is no tractor to pull the beach rake. The state is very wary. I’m not sure the beach rake is the answer to fixing the beach.”

The police department will ask voters to approve $120,000 for replacement of three marked cruisers. The money is earmarked from the ambulance reserve account, which is funded from payments by insurance companies and patients to the town for ambulance transport.

The fire-EMS department is asking for $55,000 from the reserve fund to replace a command vehicle.

Also on the warrant is a request for $85,000 to buy a specially-designed rescue boat for use in bays, ponds and near shore. A motion from the floor to withdraw the request is now expected.

The Community Preservation Committee has proposed 13 separate projects to be funded from Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, including:

• $61,130 that would allow the affordable housing committee to initiate title searches and property tests to find out if certain town owned lots can be used to establish affordable housing.

• $147,900 in CPA funds to replace lanterns along Sea View avenue with historically accurate fixtures.

• $125,000 to add to the same amount voted last year, for a total of $250,000 in matching funds toward a $1 million federal grant to replace the culvert that connects Farm Pond to the ocean.

The town election is Thursday, April 14. There are races for cemetery commissioner, planning board and school committee. Christopher Gibson is challenging Linda M. Wilson for her seat on the cemetery commission. Erik R. Albert, Abraham L. Seiman and William B. Vrooman are all vying for a five-year seat on the town planning board. Mr. Seiman is also challenging incumbent school committee member Lisa Anne Reagan for her seat.