West Tisbury voters overwhelmingly approved a new expense and revenue agreement for Tri Town Ambulance, and stood to honor the memory of their late selectman Kent Healy at a brief special town meeting Tuesday night.

Finance committee members Greg Orcutt (left) and Doug Ruskin had slightly different views on Tri-Town Amublance article. — Ray Ewing

The tri-town assessment change from an equal three-way split with Aquinnah and Chilmark to a formula weighted partially on call volume by town will shift an estimated $50,000 to $80,000 in costs to West Tisbury’s budget and relieve the burden on Aquinnah, Tri Town Ambulance chief Ben Retmeier said at the meeting.

“If you have a $1 million home valuation, your taxes would roughly go up by about $22,” he told voters.

The town finance committee chairman opposed the article, citing precedent for other cost-sharing agreements with neighboring towns.

“This formula has stood for 43 years. It has worked and worked well,” said chairman Greg Orcutt. “Why change now?”

One answer lies in town demographics, said finance committee member John Christensen, supporting the article.

“Just in the last 10 years . . . the town of Aquinnah census has gone down 20 per cent, while West Tisbury has been one of the fastest growing towns in the commonwealth,” said Mr. Christensen, who has long been an emergency response manager in town.

“We have plenty of businesses that are growing here,” he continued. “We have industry in West Tisbury.”

Moderator Dan Waters led the meeting. — Ray Ewing

Select board chairman Skipper Manter was unmoved by the argument.

“I’m not comfortable having to pay more taxes to help Aquinnah,” he said.

Admitting that he was of two minds on the measure, finance committee member Doug Ruskin said he voted not to recommend the article chiefly because he wanted it to come before a larger group of voters at the annual town meeting next spring,

“If I put my community of Martha’s Vineyard hat on, I tend to lean more toward John’s argument,” Mr. Ruskin said, adding that he was grateful to the select board for bringing the question before voters at all.

“They absolutely didn’t have to,” he said. Aquinnah and Chilmark selectmen voted for the changes, initially spurred by a request from Aquinnah officials, at a joint meeting earlier this year.

Select board member Cynthia Mitchell, who represents West Tisbury on the Tri Town Ambulance board, said the new formula — one of five alternatives the board considered — retains an even three-way split for 75 per cent of the budget while easing Aquinnah’s assessment for 25 per cent.

“The Tri Town board unanimously, strongly recommends these proposed changes,” Ms. Mitchell said. “It’s not going to mean a lot to West Tisbury; it’s going to mean a lot in Aquinnah.”

Following the nearly-unanimous approval of the article, voters moved swiftly through the balance of the warrant, wrapping up the meeting in 35 minutes.

A total of 44 voters attended. Ordinarily a quorum of 137 is required. But the select board voted to reduce the quorum to 30, taking advantage of a pandemic-era change in state law.

Voters made mostly short work of seven-article warrant. — Ray Ewing

A pair of school financing articles passed unanimously, one requesting $257,370 for the town’s share of work on the West Tisbury School roof and the other an intermunicipal agreement with the up-Island regional school district to repay West Tisbury’s share of HVAC work at the Chilmark School.

Voters also unanimously approved articles making Saturday an official holiday for the town clerk’s office and allowing veterans and seniors to offset their property taxes by doing up to 125 hours of clerical work for the town.

A request for $5,000 toward a Martha’s Vineyard Commission coastal resiliency project involving storm tides did not wind up coming to a vote.

“On behalf of the proponent, I would move to indefinitely postpone this article,” Ms. Mitchell said.

“We were told earlier that they think they have the money.”

Moderator Daniels Waters began the meeting by turning the microphone over to Mr. Manter, who spoke briefly with emotion about the recent death of board member Kent Healy.

“He worked for this town on so many committees and boards and usually behind the scenes,” Mr. Manter said.

“He’d hardly accept a thank you. You had to force it on him.”

Instead of requesting a moment of silence, Mr. Manter led voters in a standing ovation for Mr. Healy’s memory.