Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday gave approval to a preliminary $29.4 million budget for the next fiscal year, a three per cent increase over the previous year.

The budget discussion kicked off a wide-ranging meeting that included selectmen giving the go-ahead to a new frozen yogurt shop and tour company. But first they agreed to approve the budget and send it on to the finance and advisory committee for review.

Town administrator Robert Whritenour said most of the increase comes from new spending for the Oak Bluffs school, and meeting the town’s health insurance obligations. A Proposition 2 1/2 override will not be needed, he said.

Mr. Whritenour said in a budget summary that higher enrolment and an increase in students learning English has brought the elementary school budget up more than five per cent, which is partly offset by a decline in enrollment at the high school.

While town departments have delayed some initiatives to keep costs down, the budget reflects the addition of an assistant town administrator or human resources administrator, a full-time position that would start Oct. 1. The budget also includes a full-time administrative assistant to the planning board and adding a new patrol position in the police department. The new police officer will be assigned as a school resource officer, police chief Erik Blake said, and the increased staffing will help with shift coverage when needed. The chief noted that four members of the department are expecting babies this spring.

In other financial business, Mr. Whritenour said he is paying close attention to town finances. Halfway through the fiscal year, 53 per cent of the town budget has been spent, he said, with revenues lower than expected. “We’re following it very closely and it’s a tight fiscal year but we won’t go over,” the town administrator said.

A public hearing about proposed revisions to town taxi bylaws was relatively brief when no taxi owners appeared. Selectmen discussed the regulations among themselves, including adding language that requires taxi drivers to obey the rules of the road, and a discussion about taxi driver attire. Current regulations require drivers to wear collared shirts, but new requirements stipulate only professional dress.

Selectman Walter Vail said he thought collared shirts are appropriate and would give Island visitors a good impression. “I think that’s getting a little picky,” selectman Michael Santoro said.

The new regulations will be reviewed by town counsel before coming to selectmen again for final approval.

Selectmen approved a municipal street license for the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf company, a new tour company operated by Dockside Inn owner John Tiernan and Caleb Caldwell. Mr. Tiernan said he plans to use four 15-seat passenger vans to conduct tours in all the Island towns.

“We see it as a need because we’re kind of in the know. Between Caleb and I we have three hotels. We see that the demand is so much now that people are kind of going rogue,” he said, adding that he believes people pay high sums for individual van tours and end up dissatisfied or without really seeing the Island.

He said the tours would travel dedicated routes for three trips a day during the summer season. Tourists would gather for the tours at Dockside, he said, which is near ferry arrival locations.

“I think it’s great,” Mr. Santoro said. “Everything John does he does it well and we’ve all seen the Dockside and improvements down there.”

Selectmen unanimously approved the request. In response to a question from Mr. Vail, Mr. Tiernan said drivers would wear collared shirts.

A new self-serve frozen yogurt shop will open this spring on Circuit avenue after selectmen approved Steven Steinberg’s proposal to open Rosie’s frozen yogurt shop next to Ryan Family Amusements. Mr. Steinberg said he and his wife, seasonal Island residents, run two frozen yogurt shops in Connecticut. Customers will serve themselves from four frozen yogurt machines and a toppings bar, he said, and the shop will be open from April to October.

Selectmen also gave the green light to the town’s participation in the Vineyard Sustainable Energy Committee and appointed Richard Toole as their representative; approved a request from Slice of Life restaurant to close for cleaning and repairs from Jan. 15 to Feb. 16; and appointed Wallace Bullock as the town representative to the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council.

Updates came in on several ongoing projects. Board chairman Gail Barmakian said work continues to draft a town plastic bag bylaw, with discussions ongoing between Vineyard Conservation Society and town business owners. Other Island towns adopted bylaws banning plastic bags last year.

A working group convened for the first time this week to discuss moped safety, an issue that returned to the surface this summer after an accident that seriously injured two young women. Ms. Barmakian said a wide range of solutions is on the table. Goals include amending moped bylaws, developing more detailed checklists for rider training, and a map that shows dangerous areas for moped riders. The working group meets again in early February; the deadline for town meeting articles is Feb. 17.

Finally, Mr. Whritenour said structural engineer John Lolley has started a evaluation of the state of the deteriorating Island Theatre, which is a growing cause of concern for the town building inspector and other officials. After the building was declared dangerous by the building inspector and a board of survey, selectmen voted two weeks ago to commission a report outlining repairs necessary to make the building safe.

Mr. Whritenour said he, Ms. Barmakian, and building inspector Mark Barbadoro met for a kickoff session to discuss the project. The assessment will include a detailed evaluation that will allow the town to gather cost estimates ahead of the April town meeting. The assessment was expected to take three weeks, and Mr. Whritenour said he hoped to have more information at the next board meeting.

“It’s the conversation all over town,” Mr. Vail said.