Three current or former businessmen with years of experience in town hall are vying for two seats on the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen.

Brian Packish, who is currently chairman of the town planning board, will face incumbents Walter Vail and Michael Santoro, who are up for reelection after completing their second three-year terms as selectmen.

The town election is Thursday, April 13, in the Oak Bluffs Public Library meeting room. Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In telephone interviews with the Gazette this week, each candidate weighed in on issues facing voters at the upcoming annual town meeting, including moped safety, two competing bans on plastic bags in checkout lines, and a slate of capital projects.

Walter Vail. — Mark Lovewell

Mr. Packish, who owns a landscape company and serves on several town boards, said the biggest challenges facing Oak Bluffs involve the array of multimillion-dollar projects on the horizon, including a new town hall, coastal restoration projects, and the expansion of the town wastewater treatment plant and sewer lines.

“I’m really concerned about the people in our community who are living with a fixed income, and there is an inevitable tax increase,” he said. “I’m meeting with a lot of voters every day and they are really, really worried. We have to prioritize.”

He sees plans to expand the town sewer lines as an opportunity to protect coastal ponds, which have declined as a result of nitrogen from wastewater and other sources. He noted that the current treatment plant is nearing the end of its 20-year lifespan. But he questioned the timing of a new town hall, in light of other needs.

Mr. Vail, a retired mortgage banker and business owner who also serves on multiple boards, agrees that sewering is necessary, but advocates for completing the new town hall as soon as possible.

“Town hall is in miserable condition,” he said of the building on School street. “There is no question that it needs to be replaced. It’s either now at one cost or later on at a higher cost. Those costs are not getting any cheaper.”

Along with town hall and wastewater management, Mr. Vail said the decaying Island Theatre is a critical issue facing the town. “I’ve heard many people talk about taking it by eminent domain,” he said. “I’m not sure that would work very easily, but if that’s what the town would like I would certainly support it.” An article on the town meeting warrant seeks funding for interior bracing to keep the building from falling down, but Mr. Vail he would rather spend the money to tear the building down.

Mr. Santoro said his top priorities include improving town beaches, parks and other shoreline infrastructure. He supports the new town hall. “The more we put it off, the more it’s going to cost,” he said, adding that two years ago the cost was about $2.5 million less. “As I’ve learned, being here 25 years, this town has a habit of putting things off,” he said.

Along those lines, every Island town except Oak Bluffs last year adopted a new ban on single-use plastic bags in checkout lines. The Oak Bluffs selectmen chose to form a committee for further study. Voters now face a choice between the original ban, drafted by the Vineyard Conservation Society, and a less stringent ban drafted by members of the town business community.

Brian Packish. — Mark Lovewell

As a mediator for the committee discussions, Mr. Packish said he had pledged not to promote one proposal or the other, but was happy that voters would have a choice. “I’m excited that regardless of which one we end up with, we will be ending up with some form of a responsible plastic bag ban in Oak Bluffs,” he said.

Mr. Santoro, who owns three restaurants in town, said the proposals hit especially close to home. He said the VCS ban, which targets thicker plastic bags than the alternative, would mean higher costs for businesses, and while he is willing to make the change, he hopes voters reach a compromise at the town meeting.

Mr. Vail said he supports the VCS initiative. “The only concern I have is making sure that the Oak Bluffs businesses are on board so that they can reasonably serve people who are going to buy goods from them,” he said. He also worried about day trippers who might not think to bring their own bags.

All three candidates support limiting moped rentals, with each expressing a desire to end the practice altogether. But they also acknowledged the limited options under town and state law.

Mr. Packish said the town has reached a turning point in its longstanding efforts to tighten moped regulations. “It’s pretty evident with the amount of people engaged,” he said. “I personally am completely against rental mopeds, and if it were within the confines of the law, I would support revoking the licenses.” (One article on the town meeting warrant asks to nullify three licenses in town based on alleged violations and lack of enforcement of the town’s moped bylaw.)

Mr. Santoro noted recent legal discussions in town that clarified a requirement that moped rental companies provide a test track for use in training their customers. He pledged not to approve any moped rental licenses in town unless the company provides such a facility.

But moped rentals is another area where town leaders have been criticized for dragging their feet. Mr. Packish pointed out that a formal complaint by the Mopeds Are Dangerous Action Committee in January wasn’t taken up by the selectmen until March.

“I think that we can do a better job in our community with transparency, public outreach and engagement,” he said. “We need to be forthcoming with information, and we need to do it in a timely manner so that people can make decisions.”

“There is a whole lot of smart, intelligent and caring people in our community,” he added. “I think we’ve overlooked that for too long.”