Expecting a significant revenue shortfall, Chilmark selectmen unanimously voted Wednesday to institute a budget freeze of all non-essential spending for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Town administrator Tim Carroll said that the town has $3 million out for collection on real estate and personal property taxes and is anticipating a $135,000 revenue deficit. Following the extension of the tax deadline to June 1, Mr. Carroll said about nine per cent of taxes are still outstanding. He also said harbors and beaches comprise the bulk of revenue for the town, some of which are expecting delayed openings.

“A deficit on our finances would be a ding on our credit rating down the road, and it would affect our borrowing capacity . . . and cost us more down the road,” Mr. Carroll said.

Selectmen voted to adopt a budget freeze for the remainder of fiscal year 2020, which ends June 30, prohibiting any unnecessary or non-emergency spending. Mr. Carroll said that non-essential spending is defined by expenses outside of non-recurring payments, contractual obligations and direct health or public safety measures.

He also said the freeze wold prohibit the hiring of seasonal staff, all travel, non-emergency projects and purchasing supplies not immediately necessary to support essential town operations.

“This recognizes we are in a new financial climate and we should be as conservative as we can be with discretionary spending,” selectman Warren Doty said.

Before the next selectmen’s meeting, in two weeks, town department heads will be asked to examine their current budgets and come up with any requests to hire seasonal staff or conduct non-emergency projects. Selectmen will examine the requests and prioritize funds as they become available, they said.

Town departments were previously asked by selectmen not to hold meetings during the emergency, but on Wednesday, selectmen authorized the finance committee and beach committee to meet via teleconference.

“Of course, if it relates to a board of health function with this pandemic, we would consider than an essential service,” Mr. Doty said. “But if you think there is something that doesn’t need to be spent in your budget, we are looking to hold on to that.”