As a member of the public-at-large and as a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council, I am writing to express my dismay at the Town of Tisbury Board of Assessors’ unilateral decision to deny the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse its tax exempt status.

Board chairman Angela Cywinski said that a review of the nonprofit’s tax filing showed only about five per cent of its budget going toward education.. Her sister-in-law Ann Marie Cywinski, assistant assessor, stated in a letter to Playhouse executive director MJ Bruder Munafo dated Sept. 25 that, “The organization must be organized for charitable purposes, and must actually operate as a public charity. Its dominant purposes and activities must benefit the public at large, not just a limited group of people.”

She further stated that the organization does not meet the definition of being established for “literary, benevolent, charitable or temperance purposes.”

It is inconceivable to me that there is any question as to the Playhouse’s year-round status as a non-profit theatre that offers numerous literary programs for thousands of children, adults and seniors. Since I live on a fixed income, I take advantage of many of the free and reduced-price offerings. In addition, the Peter Luce Play Readers, which meets weekly at the Tisbury Senior Center, has been given the opportunity to perform on the Playhouse’s Patricia Neal Stage for the benefit of our members and the greater Island community.

It is unfortunate that the intransigent assessors insist on making this into a battle that will undoubtedly cost many thousands of dollars in legal fees to the Playhouse and the Town of Tisbury. This will also hurt the numerous theatre-goers who most likely will see an increase in ticket prices. Surely there is an equitable solution to this quagmire.

Linda Vadasz

West Tisbury