The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

Aquinnah’s board of directors decided to push forward two regional projects on Tuesday: the creation of a Martha’s Vineyard housing bank and the replacement of the HVAC system at Chilmark School.

The board, following in Chilmark’s footsteps, has agreed to approve a mandate article for the annual town hall meeting drafted by the coalition formed this year to promote the housing bank. The article would create a housing bank modeled on Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank.

Board members Gary Haley and Tom Murphy praised the draft article and chose not to hear a presentation from members of the Housing Banking Coalition on the grounds that the two had already understood and were in favor of the measure. Council member Juli Vanderhoop was absent from the meeting.

“I don’t think there’s any need to go through all the paperwork,” Haley said before asking for a motion to approve the article.

The draft article is circulating in all island towns.

The board also decided to enter into an intermunicipal agreement with Chilmark, West Tisbury and the Up-Island Regional School District to borrow $ 950,000 to pay for a replacement HVAC system at Chilmark School. The deal had already been approved by West Tisbury and Chilmark, giving Aquinnah the final say in the matter.

Under the agreement, Aquinnah will be responsible for about 10 percent of the annual debt service on the loan, according to school district financial director Mark Friedman.

“Which would basically translate to $ 9,500 in principal payments,” he said.

School district officials also asked council to add a town meeting measure to appropriate just over $ 23,000 to replace part of the roof at West Tisbury School.

Funds for the project were approved at special town hall meetings in West Tisbury and Chilmark.

But city administrator Jeffrey Madison said the city has yet to receive its free money certification and is unable to make a decision on it. He said there is “a lot of demand for this free money here in town.”

Mr Madison said he was unsure whether the city would hold a special town hall meeting and said if there was one it wouldn’t be until January at the earliest. He recommended that council take the matter under advisement until the status of a possible special municipal assembly is clearer.

“We just can’t, at this point in time, commit to the spending,” Madison said.

The board expressed sympathy for the school district’s need for money for the project.

“We would be delighted to grant you an IOU,” Haley said.

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