The annual town meeting warrant which will be addressed by Tisbury voters on Tuesday night is one cut to the economic times, featuring none of the big-cost initiatives of recent years.

This is the year Tisbury abandoned its free-spending ways. There are no new fire stations this time around, no other big new projects, almost nothing of a discretionary nature. Infrastructure outlays are mostly confined to replacing that which is broken.

What there is instead is a pared-back operating budget of $20.4 million, less than two per cent above last year’s $20.08 million.

“We’ve really taken the pen to it this year, saying this is not appropriate, this is not appropriate to the times,” said the chairman of selectmen, Jeff Kristal, yesterday.

“This is one of the lowest raise-and-appropriate years in anyone’s memory down at town hall.”

It had to be thus, he said.

“We told people when they approved the fire station that next year would begin rolling off debt. Well, we’ve got the new fire station now, and this year will be the high year for taxes, and then we begin rolling off debt.

“We had some big spending years, but this year the finance committee and board of selectmen had some really good meetings. Departments have cut where they’ve needed to. Everyone’s done their bit.”

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in the Tisbury School gymnasium.

And while voters will be asked to approve two questions calling for tax overrides, the total is a relatively modest $185,000 of which $85,000 relates to unavoidable anticipated collective bargaining costs.

And the other $100,000 may not be spent: It represents the latest effort by town officials to begin putting money aside to meet the cost of some post-employment benefits — mostly health coverage — for former town workers.

The so-called OPEB (other post employment benefits) article serves as a prime example of the new austerity in Tisbury. Two years ago, in 2009, there was an article seeking $1.566 million, which would have added several hundred dollars annually to the average property tax bill.

The proposal failed to get enough support on the night, but it was defeated only by a margin of 74-51.

In 2010, a similar article was pulled from the warrant before the meeting. This year, the finance and advisory board has drastically lowered its ambitions for OPEB. Still, several senior town officials doubt the chances of approval by the voters.

Mr. Kristal said such discretionary spending as there is this year comes through user fees, notably the embarkation fee raised from passengers on the Steamship Authority, “rather than off the tax base.”

There is close to $240,000 in embarkation funds to eke out departmental budgets this year.

The largest single beneficiary is the police department, which is in line for $50,000 to pay the wages of four summer officers, plus $31,000 for a new police car, $4,000 to lease a Harley-Davidson police bike and $2,500 to train and equip the Island’s tactical response group.

Among the other things the embarkation fee is expected to fund are a new four-wheel drive vehicle for the shellfish constable, half the cost of a new utility and rescue truck for the fire brigade, $40,000 toward the cost of a new refuse truck for the department of public works (to add to $72,000 coming out of free cash), along with another $45,000 for a new small dump truck, various pieces of equipment for the ambulance and fire brigade, and $10,000 to design and build a dormer on the harbor master’s office at Owen Park.

Whether they all go through remains to be seen — the harbor master has been knocked back on office improvements before — but all have been recommended by the finance committee.

The other major non-budget source of funds are some $560,000 in Community Preservation Act funds. The big ticket items there include $225,000 to partially fund the Island Housing Trust’s construction of four affordable units on Lake street, $90,000 tagged for the county’s rental subsidy program and $50,000 to continue the restoration of the exterior of the Vineyard Playhouse.

In the budget proper, the major cost increases are for schools. The budget appropriation for fiscal year 2012 for the elementary school and the town’s contribution to the regional high school are up to nearly $5.3 million, from $4.98 million this previous year, or almost five per cent.

The next biggest cost increase is insurance, which is budgeted to cost the town $3.3 million in 2012, compared with $3.2 million in 2011.

Emergency services, police, fire and ambulance/EMT services, also are budgeted for significant cost increases, with police up some $60,000 to $1.379 million, fire up almost $40,000 to $237,000, and ambulance up about $7,000 to $313,000.

Overall, though this is a tight budget, and town officials hope, one which will go through with little contention.

Considering the general state of the economy, said Tisbury finance director Tim McLean, “It hasn’t been too bad this year.”

“The selectmen and the finance committee did a good job of holding budgets down this year. I hope we can whip through the town meeting,” he said.

Still, Tuesday night’s meeting is not expected to be over quickly, possibly not even in one night, as a result of events last Tuesday night when a special town meeting was postponed for lack of a quorum.

Voters now will have to contend not only with the 37 articles on the annual town meeting warrant, but also 16 — several of them very long, detailed changes to town bylaws — on the special meeting warrant.

The plan is to convene the annual meeting, then adjourn so the unfinished business of the special can be dealt with first.

“Bylaws,” said Mr. McLean. “You just never know how much time they’ll take up.”

Tuesday’s special meeting was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. but at the start was well short of the required 100 voters. At 7:15, the 81 people in the Tisbury school gymnasium were asked to use their cell phones to round up reinforcements. But they still were eight votes short at 8 p.m, and town moderator Deborah Medders called it off, predicting it would likely take two nights to get through the combined warrants.

Various theories were advanced on the night for why the turnout was so low; the consensus among town officials was that there were no hot issues which engaged voters.

As selectman Tristan Israel put it: “There were no dog regulations up.”