Young activists and old issues held sway at the Aquinnah selectmen’s meeting Tuesday evening, ranging from West Tisbury and Charter School students promoting a town meeting warrant article to ban the sale of plastic water bottles to discussion of funding for the county sheriff.

Students Rodeo Purves Langer, Runar Finn Robinson, Odin Robinson, Tasman Strom, and Emma Bena presented the proposed warrant article to selectmen, fielding questions about the logistics of the bylaw like seasoned legislative veterans. In some ways, they were. The article has already made it onto town meeting warrants in Chilmark and West Tisbury.

Selectmen were receptive to the idea and voted unanimously to put it on the town meeting warrant in Aquinnah. The bylaw would ban the sale or distribution of water or soft drinks in plastic bottles sized 34 ounces or less, and has exemptions for emergency situations. It leaves enforcement of the bylaw up to the selectmen, and would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2020.

“So what would the people do that have soft-drink machines now?” selectman Juli Vanderhoop asked.

“Well, if you want soda machines, instead of selling in plastic, just sell in cans,” replied Rodeo Purves Langer. “I know Cliffhangers already has cans,” he said referring to a shop at the Cliffs.

“I like that, Rodeo,” selectman Jim Newman replied.

Town administrator Jeffrey Madison invited the kids back any time.

In other business, selectmen discussed a funding proposal from the Dukes County Sheriff’s office for the construction and operation of an emergency services tower on the Island. Last year, the sheriff’s office failed to get funding for the tower because the six Island towns could not agree on an equitable distribution of the costs. Although the sheriff’s office landed a large grant to fund last year’s request, money is still needed for the operation of the facility.

This year, the sheriff has proposed to divide fifty per cent of the funding as “weighted shares” among the six Island towns, and divide the other fifty per cent among the towns based on call volume. Because up-Island towns like Aquinnah have a significantly lower emergency services call volume than their down-Island counterparts, they would shoulder a larger portion of the funding burden.

With an increase in the up-Island school budget and a planned cost of living adjustment for town employees, Mr. Madison said funding for the tower could face an uphill battle in Aquinnah.

“Everyone’s budget that we don’t control has gone up this year,” the town administrator said. “All of this stuff getting heaped on us . . . how do we do it? We can’t do any of our capital improvements here because of the cost of our participation in regional government. It’s really become an issue.”

Selectman put off a decision, saying they would first speak with police chief Randhi Belain and Sheriff Bob Ogden.

“I can tell you that no formula that is adopted by all six towns is going to be fair to Aquinnah,” fire chief Simon Bollin said. “We just never get there.”

Mr. Madison also raised the specter of outsourcing the town assistant assessor position. He said the town currently funds the position at 32 hours per week and spends approximately $90,000 a year, even though the work is done in less than 32 hours during most weeks.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Mr. Madison said. “We’ve gotten our tax rates set with a number of considerably less hours than what have been requested through the assistant assessor . . . we didn’t suffer a bit from that lessened workload.”

Elise LeBovit, a member of the board of assessors, presented selectmen with an analysis of outsourcing the position and said she felt it is important to have an assessor on site. She estimated the cost of outsourcing the position would make it twice as expensive.

“I don’t think you realize how much work goes into this job,” Ms. LeBovit said.

But Mr. Madison said he had talked to other towns and the state Department of Revenue and believed the work could be done for considerably less money.

The proposal comes against a backdrop of longstanding tensions between selectmen and the assessors and their paid assistant Angela Cywinski. At the annual town meeting last year voters agreed to change the board of assessors from elected to appointed positions, giving the selectmen more control and oversight.

Ms. Cywinski attended the meeting and engaged in heated exchange with Mr. Madison.

Selectmen said they would at least look into the issue and the possibility of outsourcing other town departments as well.

“We can look at this,” Ms. Vanderhoop said. “Just looking at these things is going to help this town.”