Chilmark and West Tisbury renewed joint funding talks over for the Howes House renovation at a joint select board meeting this week. Plans to update the headquarters of the Up-Island Council on Aging hit a snag last month, when mounting challenges caused West Tisbury to withdraw a funding article for the project from the annual warrant.

The project aims to bring the century-plus-old building up to modern building codes and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a high priority for a building serving the Island’s elderly population. Plans also call for more space to be added to the building. Constraints stemming from its historic status and existing on-site infastructure have contibuted to the fraught process and high cost.

At the meeting Tuesday, West Tisbury board chair Cynthia Mitchell made the case for a collaborative funding model. Since the 1970s, she explained, the up-Island towns had jointly operated the program.

“Chilmark has the highest rate of use of the three towns,” she said, with 51 per cent of eligible town residents making use of the Howes House. Though West Tisbury has a higher eligible population, she said, only 19 per cent make use of its services.

Members of the Chilmark board spoke in favor of continuing the up-Island collaboration, but wanted to know more about the price tag.

“The question is what you are building, and how much would it cost?,” said board member Jim Malkin.

West Tisbury board member Skipper Manter explained that the other towns would only be asked to contribute to the actual construction portion of the project, which he estimated would cost around $9 million.

“Without that contribution, I’m not sure West Tisbury’s people would vote to approve a $10 million project,” he said.

The Chilmark board expressed a willingness to provide a contribution on some level of the project, though details were left to be worked out at a later date.

In other business, the Chilmark board approved a revised town budget of over $13.5 million dollars, an increase of 8.12 per cent since last year. A previous draft with an increase of 11 per cent was reduced significantly over the course of the week, after an effort from town officials shaved off nearly $250,000.

“I think this looks like a good final budget,” said board member Warren Doty.

The bulk of the increase stems from a project to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning at the Chilmark school costing the town about $2.5 million dollars.

The board also voted to approve the annual town warrant and approved several parking signage maintenance items from the harbormaster.