Tisbury selectmen discussed the merits of a housing bank ballot question, revisited an agreement with Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative and expressed concern about the high school budget at their meeting on Tuesday.

A representative from an ad-hoc citizens housing committee asked the selectmen to place a non-binding question on the upcoming town election ballot reading:

“Are you in favor of establishing a regional housing bank to address the critical housing needs on the Vineyard, initial funding for this housing bank will come from a portion of each towns existing community preservation act (CPA) funds.”

Abbe Burt said a similar question had passed in all six towns in 2005, but stagnated in the state legislature. This question, she said, would indicate if the Vineyard community was still interested in pursuing a housing bank.

Selectmen took immediate issue with the inclusion of community preservation act funds in the question.

“If you want to put a non-binding article on, I’m fine with that, but take out the funding mechanism for now,” said selectman Larry Gomez.

Selectman Tristan Israel said he thought the proposed question is premature.

“I have some major problems with this,” he said in part. “I find it upsetting that we went through this whole Island-wide process that we the community as a whole have not heard the results of and we’re being sort of pigeon-holed into doing this.”

Representatives of the CPC attended the meeting to also voice their discomfort with the clause indicating the CPA would provide the funds for the housing bank.

“People can’t just say, we’re going to use CPA money...there’s a very particular process,” said Heidi Dietterich, administrative assistant of the Tisbury CPC.

Selectmen agreed to include the ballot question, omitting the funding mechanism to read, “are you in favor of establishing a regional housing bank to address the critical housing needs on the Vineyard.”

The board also revisited a vote they had taken in July concerning CVEC, a regional cooperative designed to help develop renewable energy projects.

Representatives from CVEC have asked towns involved in the first round of projects for a half-cent “adder,” an amount of money per kilowatt hour of energy that will go back to the cooperative for expenses.

The adder would reduce the amount of money the town would receive back from the town solar array by 13 per cent. Last year Tisbury received $103,000.

Tisbury selectmen had agreed to the adder for a period of two years as long as all other first-round towns also agreed. In mid-January, Edgartown said they would not pay the adder, asking CVEC to return with an alternative plan.

At their meeting Tuesday, Tisbury selectmen discussed this most recent development.

Mr. Israel said the board’s original vote only applied to the half-cent adder agreement presented to them and if CVEC returned to Edgartown with a different agreement, Tisbury’s conditions would not be met.

“If it’s something new, that’s really a misnomer in my mind” said Mr. Israel.

Town administrator John (Jay) Grande said CVEC is expected to return to Edgartown in March.

“So we’re going to wait and see,” said chairman Melinda Loberg.

In reviewing regional budgets, the selectmen expressed their concern about the rising costs of education for the town. With an increase of 21 students attending the high school next year, Tisbury’s assessment for the budget increased by 22 per cent.

Superintendent Dr. Matthew D’Andrea said this included an offset from excess and deficiency funds to help alleviate the burden of the increase.

“We did recognize that with the increase of students in Tisbury, it was going to hit your budget hard,” he said.

Mr. Israel said the current formula for cost sharing may be untenable for Tisbury, looking forward.

“My issue is we cannot sustain a number or years with this kind of increase,” he said.

Mrs. Loberg said she suspects an Island-wide discussion about how schools are funded will begin soon.

“Have the Island fund students as a unit, because they do move around a lot,” she said.

In other business, selectmen approved an increased sewer flow request for Fella’s on Union contingent on the completion of paperwork. Fella’s plans to add more seating for a total of 50 seats.