After months of debate and discussion, Edgartown will finally decide whether to take ownership of the run-down Yellow House when voters gather for their annual town meeting Tuesday.

A 69-item warrant also features a $34.6 million budget and a range of spending requests, from the harborfront to town roads.

Voters are asked whether to spend $3 million to acquire the Yellow House. — Mark Lovewell

Annual and special town meetings begin at 7 p.m. at the Old Whaling Church. Longtime moderator Philip J. Norton will preside. The town election is Thursday, with one contested race on the ballot: a two way contest for a seat on the planning board. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the town hall meeting room.

A $3 million proposal for the town to buy or take by eminent domain the building known as the Yellow House at 66 Main street has been the focus of much public discussion in the run-up to town meeting. The building is owned by the Hall family and has been in a state of disrepair for years.

Voters will be asked to spend $1.5 million from the town community preservation act fund and $1.5 million from general appropriation to buy the .26 acre lot and vacant building that dates to 1805. A second warrant article authorizes selectmen to lease the Yellow House to a tenant who would restore the building and operate it as a commercial property. Plans also call for creating a small public park, and turning a private parking lot into public parking.

The proposal requires a two-thirds majority at town meeting and approval again on the ballot Thursday.

“I certainly hope it’s going to go through,” selectman and board chairman Margaret Serpa said this week. “I hope that the people support this so that when we meet next year we can look out and say we’re glad we did this.”

Selectmen and a committee appointed to oversee the acquisition hosted two public information meetings about the project in recent weeks during which town officials outlined a range of reasons for taking the property by eminent domain if a purchase agreement cannot be reached. Arguments centered on bringing a key piece of property on Main street back to life and ending years of litigation with the property owners over compliance with town bylaws.

Voters will decide about repairs to bulkhead by the finger piers, damaged in recent storms. — Timothy Johnson

Town administrator Pamela Dolby told the Gazette that Edgartown has spent about $121,500 in legal fees related to the Yellow House since 2005.

Owner and family spokesman Benjamin L. Hall Jr. has strongly opposed the plan in public meetings and in a letter this week, claiming that the town has blocked family efforts to make repairs over the years. “This kind of forced taking does not set a good precedent for our town or for the Island,” Mr. Hall wrote in the lengthy letter published online in today’s edition ( “It has never been our intention to hurt the community and we apologize to those folks who feel we have,” he also wrote.

If the article passes and a purchase agreement cannot be reached with the owners, the town can take the building through eminent domain immediately, town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport said at a recent meeting. The owners would have the right to appeal the purchase price.

Other large spending issues this year focus on town roads, public safety and the waterfront. Voters will be asked at the town meeting and again at the polls to approve $750,000 for a new Class A pumper for the fire department, $160,000 for a patrol/connection vessel for the harbor master, and $600,000 for a new town dredge.

Procurement officer Juliet Mulinare said the existing dredge is 21 years old and requires maintenance costs “above what can be considered the most cost effective application of taxpayer dollars.” Owning a dredge saves the town money in the long run, she said.

A $50,000 request for community preservation funding would pay for renovations at the town boat ramp at Katama Bay. Planned improvements include widening the ramp to accommodate the town dredge.

In other waterfront repairs, voters will asked to spend $30,000 for a comprehensive engineering study of the bulkhead at North Wharf and $125,000 for part of extreme repairs and capital improvements to the bulkhead at the finger piers at the harbor. The latter project will be shared with the Edgartown Yacht Club.

Both areas were damaged by storms, particularly the bulkhead by the finger piers, Ms. Serpa said. “I think it’s important that we keep up the waterfront, it’s so heavily used,” she said.

Warrant includes 69 items and $34.6 million budget. — Mark Lovewell

A $34.6 million budget is on the table, up about three per cent, or $1.1 million, over last year. Mrs. Dolby said health insurance and retirement costs are the primary source of the budget increase.

A study of the wastewater treatment plant led to several spending requests related to repairs and improvements there, and a $2.5 million proposal to expand the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District facility on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road returns to the ballot for a third time. The proposal requires approval from all four member towns, which will share the cost. Edgartown would pay about 70 per cent of the bond. Last year voters said no to the proposal, citing a lack of specifics and concern about the size of the expansion.

Other spending requests include $400,000 to rebuild and resurface various town streets and $250,000 to build and repair sidewalks and bike paths. Voters will be asked to spend $225,000 to build a bike path on Meshacket Road between West Tisbury Road and Marsh Hawk Circle, an article submitted by petition.

Several community preservation funding proposals would preserve pieces of the past, including $40,000 for an ongoing project to restore historic gravestones, $25,000 to restore and display firefighting artifacts at the Edgartown fire museum, $10,000 to restore the permanent collection at the Old Sculpin Gallery, and $39,250 to restore a 19th-century undertaker’s wagon owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and of historical significance to Edgartown.

Voters will head to the polls April 13 for the annual town election. There is one contested race for town office, with incumbent planning board member Alan O. Wilson facing a challenge from Lucy C. Morrison, a former planning board clerk. Mrs. Serpa is running unopposed for her seventh term as a selectmen. Ballot questions focus on spending with the exception of a nonbinding question asking residents if they are in favor of eliminating moped rentals.