The mystifying decision by the Tisbury board of assessors to revoke the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse’s longstanding property tax exemption raises a lot more questions about the board than about the arts organization.

It turns out the playhouse is just one of several town nonprofits that are going to get first-time tax bills in their Christmas stockings this year. Friends of mvyradio is another organization that has been denied tax-exempt status because its mission does not fit the assessors’ subjective criteria for charitable organizations.

In fact, local assessors do have some latitude in making that determination, but under the somewhat archaic state law, charitable is also supposed to cover groups that have benevolent, literary, educational, scientific or (no kidding) temperance purposes.

More incredibly still, the Tisbury assessors have also decided that Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard and the Center for Living, among others, will get dinged for taxes for the first time this year simply because they failed to file paperwork on time. The organizations can appeal of course, but only after they’ve paid up and presumably gone to the cost and effort of hiring tax counsel to represent them.

To hear it from Angela Cywinski, chairman of the board of assessors, and her sister in law Ann-Marie Cywinski, the assistant assessor, the board is simply following the letter of the law.

But the assessors, a three-member elected board, seem far less scrupulous when it comes to their own procedures and recordkeeping.

There is a year-long gap, from February 2017 to February 2018, where there are no minutes for assessors’ meetings posted on the town website. That period covers the point at which the assessors evidently decided to scrutinize the town’s nonprofit organizations. Minutes of the few meetings that are posted are scanty. Asked by the Gazette to provide the missing minutes, Ann Marie Cywinski forwarded a handful of meeting agendas with handwritten notes on them. Not evident in the minutes is how the individual assessors — Angela Cywinski, Roy Cutrer and Cynthia Richard — voted on any issue.

But more troubling is the larger question of why the assessors felt the need to quietly get tough on a handful of community organizations, largely supported by donations, that have previously made their case for tax exemption. The small-minded focus on a few thousand dollars in tax revenue fails to recognize the economic, educational, cultural and social benefits that organizations like the playhouse bring to the Island.

As for Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, anyone with a bit of sense would have taken the short walk to this marvelous organization — which provides free end of life care to any Islander who needs it — and offered to help them fill out their tax paperwork on the spot.