Following in the footsteps of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown selectmen sent a letter this week to state Rep. Dylan Fernandes and Sen. Julian Cyr voicing strong opposition to the establishment of a housing bank using funds from the short-term rental tax.

“Both the Edgartown board of selectmen and finance advisory committee strongly feel that earmarking premature revenue streams to a point of potential deficit, is a very unwise financial decision, and have unanimously voted to not recommend the housing bank,” the letter reads in part.

Oak Bluffs selectmen sent their own strongly worded letter to the Cape and Islands delegation last week.

Soon after the short-term rental tax was signed into law late last year, a group formed to push for using some of the new revenues to fund a housing bank. The bank would be created through home rule petition in the state legislature. Articles will appear by petition on every town meeting warrant this spring. One article would establish an administrative structure for the housing bank similar to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, while a second asks voters to allocate half the local option of the rooms occupancy tax to fund the bank and year-round housing initiatives.

Selectmen in the three down-Island towns are already opposing the initiative, among other things calling it premature and potentially putting other spending needs at risk.

The letter from the Edgartown selectmen this week outlines a variety of potential budgetary shortfalls that the revenue from the short-term rental tax could help fund. They include millions in capital improvement expenditures, upgrades to the high school, and an unfunded, $31 million post-employment benefits liability.

“Basically what we’re saying is, stop. Go slow,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck said at the selectmen’s meeting Monday. “None of this was done with petition, or with input from any of the towns.”

Mr. Smadbeck said there was no way to measure the expected revenue from the short-term rental tax, and said he feared a potential half-million-dollar budget deficit if the housing bank legislation passes and the town doesn’t make up enough money from the short-term rental tax.

“It’s a gamble,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “Unfortunately the funding formula for which this is set up reaches into our budget and takes 50 per cent of money that is in our budget now, which equates to about $500,000.”

The other selectmen concurred, saying that the town already has a bevy of affordable housing measures in place to address the well-known housing crisis. The letter outlines developments at Morgan Woods and the upcoming Meshacket Affordable Housing Project, and says the town has put over $1 million toward affordable housing in the last three fiscal years.

“There are other irons in the fire,” selectman Michael Donaroma said.

Housing bank advocates will hold a public forum on the proposal on March 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the high school Performing Arts Center. Mr. Fernandes and Mr. Cyr are expected to attend.

Edgartown plans to host a listening and public comment session on the issue on March 13 at 6 p.m. at the town library.

In other business Monday, Edgartown firefighter and EMT Micah Agnoli was appointed as a special municipal employee to help with emergency management planning in the town. Mr. Agnoli received a National Environmental Policy Act grant to work on Edgartown’s comprehensive emergency management plan earlier this year.