Budget season descended upon West Tisbury this week, as the select board considered a request to hire a part-time building department administrator.

Town building inspector Joe Tierney said that the request for a part-time administrator was the result of a large increase in construction in the town, as well as new state regulations that could increase the department’s workload.

“Post-covid, we’ve just come out like a slingshot,” Mr. Tierney said of development in West Tisbury. “We’re having trouble keeping up with complaints, zoning enforcement.” In addition to the administrator, Mr. Tierney also requested the board consider funding a ten hour a week local inspector position. That position, he said, could be used if they needed extra help to perform annual inspections of short-term rentals, which will be required in the new state building code.

“The town is getting revenue from the short-term rentals, so we could either charge a fee for the inspections or we can utilize the short-term rental tax,” he said, suggesting that the position be funded now in case it become necessary.

The board deferred a decision until later, though they expressed skepticism about funding a position which might not be used.

Town administrator Jen Rand also presented increases in budget line items to the board.

“For the first time in a very long time the legal budget needs to go up,” she said, suggesting a 37.5 per cent increase to $55,000. “Town business is complex, and between that and challenges to decisions, I need more money,” she said.

Ms. Rand also presented an 8.9 per cent increase in the select board’s $243,257 budget, mostly due to their two electric car leases, she said, as well as a 10.1 per cent increase in property and liability insurance, and minor budget increases for streetlights, cemetery funding, maintenance and town reports.

The select board unanimously approved Ms. Rand budgets.

In other business, the select board heard an update from town energy committee chair Kate Warner on to make West Tisbury run on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2040, an initiative approved at the last town meeting.

“I think it’s gonna be up to the town to set the pace,” she said, suggesting energy resilience at the public safety building and a panel rewiring at the library as the two most pressing items for the capital improvements committee. Ms. Warner also emphasized planning needs for the West Tisbury school. She estimated that energy efficiency upgrades and temporary classrooms during construction could cost $30 million, a low estimate in the face of other desired renovations.