The Dukes County Commission voted last week to request $600,000 from the Island towns for a renovation to the Vineyard Health Care Access Program building on New York avenue in Oak Bluffs. The board slated the request for town meetings in 2023.

The Health Care Access Program, a service of Dukes County, helps connect Islanders to healthcare services. The program was created in 1999 by the county to help Island residents obtain health insurance, after the county’s health council identified a high rate of uninsured people on Martha’s Vineyard.

However, county commissioners stressed that the building located at 114 New York avenue is in untenable condition. County commissioner Leon Braithwaite specifically mentioned the building’s siding, calling for it to be completely redone.

In a motion to request the funding during town meeting season, commissioners noted that the requested amount could change based on estimates for repair.

“We’re under $1 million — it shouldn’t be too scary,” said new county commissioner-elect Doug Ruskin, who has not yet been sworn in but attended the meeting.

The county commission also heard a report from Steamship Authority governor Jim Malkin, who said the Steamship Authority is planning to expand the preferred program next April, adding an option to book trips 30 days ahead. Currently, preferred space trips can be booked either seven days ahead or one day before departure.

“Should help Islanders... get their vehicles on and off,” Mr. Malkin said.

Responding to input from the county given earlier this year, Mr. Malkin added that the Steamship Authority considered adapting discounted excursion rates to remain at one price all year, instead of the currently fluctuating seasonal discounts. But, he said, they came to the conclusion that because almost three quarters of excursion traffic occurs during the offseason, it’s probably cheaper for most Islanders to take advantage of lower offseason rates rather than establish a flat, middle-ground rate covering all seasons.

“Most of us on the Island are not traveling off the Island in-season,” he said.