After shaving down its annual town meeting warrant and budget in 2020, Edgartown selectmen approved much bulkier versions of both for 2021, including an article to fund a nearly $3 million capital project to renovate and raise Memorial Wharf.
The annual town meeting is scheduled to take place on the lawn at the Edgartown School on May 22. The annual town election is scheduled for May 25.
Edgartown selectmen approved the town’s 81-article combined annual and special town meeting warrants at their meeting Monday. The proposed town operating budget is now approximately $40 million, town administrator James Hagerty said at the meeting — up about 3.8 per cent from the slimmed-down budget approved in 2020.
Numerous warrant articles had also been on hold since the pandemic forced the town to pare down its meeting last year, including a new master plan, capital improvements to South Beach and zoning changes that will allow for a nursing facility in the town and enforcement of the Cape Pogue DCPC.
Topping the warrant this year is a $2.85 million request to fund the large Memorial Wharf restoration project through free cash and a bond. The article will require a two-thirds vote at town meeting and majority approval at the ballot box as a proposition two-and-a-half override.
The town has already received a $1 million state grant from the Seaport Economic Council, making the cost of the project close to $4 million. Mr. Hagerty said at the meeting Monday that the grant money could go to waste if the article is not approved.
“We…don’t want to leave a million dollars on the table, because we have a certain amount of time we have to spend that,” Mr. Hagerty said.
The warrant includes an article that would change the name of the town’s board of selectmen to the select board of the town of Edgartown. Other towns across the Island have already made the change, including Tisbury.
A separate article on the warrant requests voters to approve $100,000 for the town to begin developing a master plan. Mr. Hagerty said that the town’s most recent master plan came in the early nineties.
“That was going to be on the warrant last year, and got cut,” Mr. Hagerty said.
The warrant also includes an article and ballot question that would change the position of tax collector from elected to appointed. Mr. Hagerty said that the request came from the current tax collector, Melissa Kuehne, and follows best practice throughout the state.
Other articles involve the controversial VTA charging station at Church Street, stretch codes that would position the town to receive state Green Community funding, and zoning changes to allow an assisted living facility in the town.
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital signed a purchase and sale agreement more than a year ago to buy a parcel of land off the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road for a new, Windermere nursing facility, but there have been few developments on the project since the agreement was signed.
The warrant was approved unanimously.
“It’s now all up to the voters,” selectman Michael Donaroma said.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the increase in the FY 2022 operating budget. The article has been corrected.