With budget season underway, the six town community preservation committees are reviewing an array of regional projects that range from the relocation of the Gay Head Light in Aquinnah to a Little League baseball field in Oak Bluffs.
The weathervane on top of the Katharine Cornell Theatre might have a chance to face north again.
Repairs to the weathervane, which currently faces 180 degrees in the wrong direction, is one of 26 applications the Tisbury Community Preservation Act Committee reviewed for eligibility on Monday night.
In just over seven years, funds generated through the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act on the Vineyard have been used for a wide variety of projects — including the renovation of historic lighthouses and bandstands, the creation of affordable housing and the renovation and improvement of public parks.
Fallout from the Island Affordable Housing Fund’s recent shortfall in payments for the Island’s rental assistance program emerged at the Edgartown selectmen’s meeting Monday. The board approved a request from the Edgartown Housing Trust to transfer up to $10,000 of Community Preservation Act (CPA) money to assist tenants and landlords in Edgartown who are part of the affordable housing program for rental conversion.
Calling it a test of town priorities, the executive director of the Island Affordable Housing Fund this week asked the Oak Bluffs Community Preservation Committee to commit another $400,000 to the financially troubled Bradley Square project, in the name of historic preservation.
It is a violation of the Massachusetts Ethics Law for a member of a town community preservation committee who also sits on a private nonprofit board to participate in a decision that grants Community Preservation Act funds to the nonprofit.
This is the opinion of Edgartown town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport, who was recently asked by the town administrator to research the question.
The Massachusetts Community Preservation Act has been around for a short eight years, but in that relatively short span Island towns have come to depend on funding raised through the program to preserve open space, renovate and improve public parks and create affordable housing.
The act allows towns to assess a three per cent surcharge on property tax bills, which is then matched by the state through a county deeds tax paid on real estate transfers. In the early years of the program, the state matched the local portion 100 per cent.
Since it was signed 10 years ago, the state’s Community Preservation Act has seen more than $12 million spent on housing, historical preservation and conservation on Martha’s Vineyard. But now there is growing pressure for Vineyard towns to reconsider their commitment to the CPA.
On Tuesday this week, Tisbury selectmen voted to attach a question to this year’s ballot, asking voters whether they want to maintain the town’s current commitment to the program, wind it back, or drop out completely.