The county will return $250,000 in surplus funds to the six Island towns this year, following an audit that turned up extra money in county coffers.

The Dukes County advisory board voted last week to return the money. The advisory board is responsible for oversight of the county budget.

Advisory board members were critical of county officials for running such a large surplus — the unreserved fund had a balance of approximately $484,000, a recent audit found.

“We’ve been over assessing [Island towns] to a large extent,” said advisory board chairman Arthur Smadbeck, who is also an Edgartown selectman. “We have way more money than we should have. We have never reduced the assessments as per the law, and we’re going to from now on.”

Advisory board member Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd, a West Tisbury selectman, concurred .

“We certainly don’t need this amount of money in the unreserved fund,” he said. “I think it’s the prudent thing to do.”

In other business, the advisory board pledged to take steps to free money for repairs to handicapped access facilities at the Edgartown courthouse.

A ramp leading to the courthouse is in disrepair and a lift that provides access to the second floor of the courthouse has been broken for months.

“We’re going to get the handicapped ramp done, we’re going to get the chair lift done,” Mr. Smadbeck said.

The cost of both projects is estimated at $125,000. The county’s capital improvement fund has a balance of $81,000. The advisory board is required to schedule a public hearing before transferring money to the capital improvement fund.

The advisory board also established a new schedule for the county budget process. Pointing to a requirement under state law, Mr. Smadbeck said the county must complete its budget by Nov. 1, and any adjustments and public hearings need to be held by April 2.

This year the county did not schedule a required public hearing on its $1.7 million fiscal year 2018 budget until August 2, one month into fiscal year. The advisory board approved the budget on the same evening.

“Over the years it slipped,” Mr. Smadbeck said last week. “There was a working together between the county commissioners and the county advisory board in years past that for one reason or another, I do not feel is there anymore.”

In a statement, county manager Martina Thornton said the delays this year were due to delays in the airport budget.