Facing a budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year fueled by education costs, health insurance and salaries, Oak Bluffs town administrator Bob Whritenour is recommending a $750,000 general override at the annual town meeting in April.

“The budget will require a minimum Proposition 2 1/2 override of $500,000 to balance,” Mr. Whritenour wrote in his budget message to the selectmen at their meeting Tuesday. “My recommendation is for the adoption of a Proposition 2 1/2 override of $750,000 in order to balance the budget for fiscal year 2019, and to provide a small amount of additional revenue growth capacity to get us through fiscal year 2020 without an additional override.”

Mr. Whritenour submitted a proposed budget totaling $30.6 million, a 4.5 per cent increase over the previous year.

The proposed budget includes an increase of $467,566 for the town’s share of educating students at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. In his message to selectmen, Mr. Whritenour said the increase seemed excessive.

“The total assessment to the town of Oak Bluffs is increased by 10.1 per cent,” Mr. Whritenour wrote. “This makes it virtually impossible to fund the Oak Bluffs budget for the coming year without an override,”

The cost of operating the Oak Bluffs School increased by $302,432. Mr. Whritenour recommended an increase of four per cent over the previous year. The budget includes money for an additional full-time teacher and an additional full-time special education assistant.

“This represents an increase in spending at the Oak Bluffs School of 13.5 percent over three years,” Mr. Whritenour wrote. “It is anticipated that these growth pressures will continue for the foreseeable future.”

A two per cent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for full and part-time town employees, with the exception of police, contributed to an increase of $147,113 in employee salaries, according to the draft budget. Employees will not receive step increases this year, as negotiated in union contract agreements. Police officers will receive a one per cent COLA, with step increases for some officers.

Employee health insurance premiums are projected to rise 12 per cent next year. After a proposed hike of $346,480, the town’s cost for health insurance will now exceed $3 million.

The budget now goes to the finance and advisory committee for its review.

Selectman and vice chairman Greg Coogan presided over Tuesday’s meeting in the absence of chairman Kathy Burton. He said there may be additional recommendations for cuts from the finance and advisory committee, but he sees little choice but for taxpayers to decide on a Proposition 2 1/2 override.

“We have to educate children,” Mr. Coogan said after the meeting. “Hopefully we can work together with the people of the town, and they’ll see that this is a pretty stable town and we’ve tried our best to keep things under control.”

In other action Tuesday, selectmen discussed a Dukes County plan to close the beach on Sengekontacket Pond to vehicular traffic in July and August.

Mark Landers, chairman of the Oak Bluffs shellfish committee, said closing off the beach would leave commercial fishermen and other permit holders with no way to haul their catch except on foot.

“For the county to want to close that would be a travesty,” Mr. Landers said. Selectmen said the initiative was a response to trucks and tents overcrowding the beach during periods last summer when Norton Point Beach was closed.

“It became the new Norton and suddenly there was the tents set up and the jet skis at the beach,” said selectman Brian Packish.

The board agreed by consensus that shellfish permit holders should have access to the Sengekontacket beach, and directed to town manager to work with county officials on a compromise.