What's up in Town Administration?
**NO Select Board Meetings on December 23 and December 30**
FY 2022 General Fund Budget
We are well underway with budget development for FY 2022. We made our General Fund budget recommendations to the Board at its meeting on December 9th. Our budgetary focus is to address initiatives contained in the Select Board’s Strategic Plan. The Board will hold a public hearing on the budget on January 6 and following that, the Finance Committee begins its review of the proposed budget and finalizes its recommendations for Town Meeting by early March. All the meetings at which the budget is discussed are public.
2021 Annual Town Meeting
The Board has had preliminary discussions about potential articles for the Town Meeting; Town Counsel has held office hours for citizens interested in submitting their own articles; and 25 citizen warrant articles have been submitted. These 25 are in addition to those that were carried over from the 2020 Annual Town Meeting. At the Board’s meeting on December 16, the Board rescheduled the 2021 ATM from Monday, April 5 to Saturday, June 5 and the Annual Town Election from Tuesday, April 15 to Tuesday, June 7. The June ATM would be held outdoors, under open-air tent(s), most likely at one of the School parking lots. Stay tuned on this!
On October 13 and 15, 2020, the members of the Select Board participated in a facilitated retreat (via Zoom) to update the Board’s Strategic Plan. The retreat began with a lengthy discussion about the impacts of the pandemic and social protests on the Strategic Plan. Based on that discussion and a review of the implementation of the goals to date, the Board made some updates to the Plan and added goals.
The words “equity and inclusion” were added to the principles of Sustainability statement at the beginning of the document and the Quality of Life Aspirational Statement was edited to replace the word “diverse” with “inclusive.”
There are five areas of Strategic Focus in the plan: Housing, Transportation, Environmental Leadership, Efficient Town Operations, and Quality of Life. Two goals were added to the Housing Strategic Focus addressing incentives to encourage the use of secondary dwellings as year-round rentals and developing a strategy to increase home ownership opportunities for middle-income workers. The Quality of Life Strategic Focus added two goals: the first, to develop a plan to address and insure equity throughout Town policies and procedures; and the second, to evaluate partnership opportunities that promote healthy, active living and provide facilities, programs and support for vulnerable populations. No additional goals were added to the other Strategic Focus areas, though a report from the retreat includes suggestions for implementation that will be reviewed by the respective work groups.
The Select Board reviewed the updated plan at its weekly meeting on December 9, 2020 and is considering further review of one of the Housing goals. The Board will continue that discussion at a January 2021 Select Board meeting. Once the Board has approved the plan, it will be posted on the Town’s website.
- The Capital Program Committee is working on its recommendations to update the Capital Improvement Plan and prepare recommendations for FY 2022 capital projects. The Committee has been meeting weekly since September and will continue to meet into December as it develops its recommendations.
- We have established a COVID Task Force which is intended to increase the Town’s ability to detect spread of the virus, educate residents and visitors on the importance of complying with emergency orders, guidance and directives and to initiate enforcement action where necessary, including the assessment of fines to violators.
- At the Board’s December 9th meeting, we held our annual years of service recognition for Town employees, normally we do this in person with an Employee Appreciation event but this year we were limited to reading the list of eligible employees; hopefully, in early 2021, I can get around to the departments and issue the pins in person (using all safety precautions!)
Welcome Town's New Human Services Director Jerico Mele!
Jerico Mele was born on Nantucket the same day Mount Saint Helen's erupted in 1980. He graduated from Nantucket High School the appropriate number of years later. He matriculated at Brandeis University with one degree in East Asian Studies and another in Philosophy.
He has lived all over the United States and spent the last six years working for the Japanese Government in education, translating and tourism. He recently returned to Nantucket and is now looking forward to contributing to the Human Services department here on the island.
Thank you to all the Town employees, and Town officials who contribute their time to the operation of the Town. Happy holidays to everyone!
At the risk of sounding non-holiday centric, please consider the following when making holiday plans:
- Do not travel
- Do not gather
- Wear your face covering
- Wash your hands frequently
- Sanitize surfaces frequently
- Stay physically distant from those outside your household
It is ONLY when we all do these things that we can keep our community safe and cases low. Personal responsibility depends on each of us.
Nantucket's First COVID-19 Vaccinations
On Thursday, December 17, 2020, the Nantucket Cottage Hospital Emergency Department Physician Assistant Maria Carey became the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. This is a monumental day in our fight against the pandemic. The vaccine is the most important intervention that will help us bring COVID-19 under control and get us back to normal. For more information visit the Nantucket Cottage Hospital website.
Nantucket's Efforts to Increase Year-Round Housing
Nantucket Receives $1.5 M for infrastructure and housing creation.
On Friday, November 19, Select Board Chair Dawn Holdgate attended a virtual ceremony with Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito where Nantucket was granted with $1.5 M as part of the Commonwealth MassWorks grants.
At the meeting, Chair Hill Holdgate thanked the Governor for the grant and also said: "I believe I speak for all Nantucketers when I say we are grateful for your steady and reassuring leadership during these challenging times."
Housing for our year-round community remains a top priority of the Nantucket Select Board. This award will facilitate building the roadway infrastructure to support a new, 64-unit rental housing development on Town land where 80% of the residences will be income-restricted. The $1.5 million grant will fund half of the Waitt Drive infrastructure cost, a key piece of the funding puzzle to creating housing for our year-round residents, who are the soul of our island.
Since 2018, Nantucket has been a proud member of the Housing Choice Communities program. The Town is looking forward to working alongside the developer of the rental housing development to submit an application for a tax credit award through the next funding round with the State's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and to see our Town vision become a reality.
Congratulations to Sewer Department employees who received their Wastewater Operator Certification this year!
The Massachusetts Wastewater Operator certification process starts the day you walk into the door until you leave or retire. In this field you never stop learning and always encounter something new almost on a daily basis.
Health Department: December is HIV/AIDS & Flu Vaccine Awareness Month
World AIDS Day
On December 1 the National AIDS trust recognizes World AIDS Day to raise awareness, fight stigma, and improve education about HIV/AIDS. This year the theme of World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.” You can promote this NHO using resources from HIV.gov’s toolkit. You can also share MyHealthfinder’s resources on getting tested for HIV and talking to the doctor about HIV testing. And be sure to check out Healthy People 2030 to learn about national objectives focused on HIV and other STIs.
This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sponsoring National Influenza Vaccination Week from December 6 to 12. Help spread the word about flu vaccination by sharing materials from CDC's digital media toolkit. You can also check out the Healthy People 2030 objective focused on increasing the number of people who get a flu vaccine. Finally, share the US Department of Health & Human Services MyHealthfinder resource to help people in your community learn about the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu.
Climate Action: We Want to Hear From You!
Nantucket Climate Action Survey
As the most remote island-community located within the Commonwealth, Nantucket is particularly vulnerable to the devastating impacts of climate change and rising sea levels, perhaps more so than any other Massachusetts city or town.
The goal of this survey is to measure community attitudes toward mitigating the impacts of climate change by reducing local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through various strategies. The survey will take about 5 minutes to complete. All responses will be anonymous and will help inform the Town's climate action planning process.
Energy Office Update: Vineyard Wind
Vineyard Wind Withdraws from Federal Permitting Process
On December 1, 2020, Vineyard Wind announced that it selected GE’s 13 MW Haliade X urbine for its first project. In order to facilitate incorporating the Haliade X into the project design, Vineyard Wind temporarily withdrew the Construction and Operation Plan (COP) from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to conduct a final technical review of the project. The review is underway and is expected to take several weeks, after which the Federal permitting process with BOEM will resume. As Vineyard Wind’s CEO explained in the press, the decision to pause the ongoing process was difficult, but taking this step now avoids potentially more federal delays and it will provide the shortest overall timeline for delivering the project as planned. Vineyard Wind intends to restart the BOEM process from where we left off as soon as we complete the final review and expects to reach financial close in the second half of 2021 and to begin delivering clean energy to Massachusetts in 2023.
Public Works Updates
- Public Works has completed Madaket Bike Path improvements at the Madaket/Eel Point crossing and will now start working with the Nantucket Land Bank to develop a planting plan for the adjacent water quality infiltration areas adjacent to the path. Final grading, planting, signage and pavement markings will be installed in the spring as the weather allows.
- Public Works continues with construction of the 2 Fairgrounds Road Parking Lot expansion project. Once completed, the revised layout will yield approximately 254 parking spaces including 7 required ADA accessible spaces already located along the 2 Fairgrounds Road PLUS building.
- Public Works has also recently completed additional cobblestone repairs on South Water Street along the island truck route.
Mass Broadcasters Association Award
Two years ago, DPW worked with Francie Baskett's Nantucket Intermediate School Fifth Graders, from Group for Good and the Interest-based Student Learning & Enrichment (ISLE) Program, on some solid waste and recycling outreach. With the help of NCTV, videos were produced both in English and Spanish, about how to sort waste, which can be found on the DPW website.
Additionally, a few of the students worked on radio spots that can be heard on the local radio. ACKFM submitted one of these PSAs and it just won first place at the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association Sound Bites Awards:
Take-It-or-Leave-It (TIOLI) Will Remain Closed During COVID
Although the Take-It-or-Leave-It (TIOLI) will remain temporarily closed during COVID, DPW has taken this opportunity to reimagine a larger and improved TIOLI, as was presented to the Select Board on October 28, 2020. These proposed improvements would include:
- More staff to perform the necessary sorting and monitoring
- A separate Leave-It building for dropping off items
- A larger, separate Take-It building for shopping
- Other storage building(s) for additional reuse and recycling programs
- Parking for TIOLI patrons, safer and separate from the Recycling Center Drop-Off parking.
Additionally, DPW is currently setting up a contract for a hauler to take surplus materials from our usual TIOLI cleanouts (once the TIOLI reopens) to Salvation Army in Brockton for reuse off-island. In the past, DPW cleared items from the TIOLI weekly which in turn were sent to a landfill in Ohio along with Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste. This new program with the Salvation Army is conservatively expected to save the Town $57,000 annually and will divert over 85 tons of waste from a landfill to a beneficial reuse market each year; but only after being available to our local community first!
We appreciate the community's continued support of our prized Take-It-Or-Leave-It operation as it undergoes improvements for a more sustainable future.
In the meantime, please make use of other avenues for reuse and consider gifting experiences this holiday season. Memories last a lifetime.
Thrift and Consignment Stores
- Consignment Shop (62 Old South Road, 508-228-1408)
- Hospital Thrift Shop (17 India Street, 508-228-1125)
- Island Treasures (17 N Beach Street, 508-228-0789)
- The Rainbow Fleet (167 Orange Street, 508-680-1159)
- The Seconds Shop (32 Sparks Avenue, 508-228-6677)
Local Free and For Sale Websites
- Buy Nothing Nantucket
- Nantucket Book Shelf
- Nantucket Children’s Consignment
- Nantucket consignment
- Nantucket Consignments
- Nantucket Consignment Returns
- Nantucket Designer Consignments
- Nantucket Furniture Finds
- Nantucket Ladies Threadup
- Nantucket Mansignments
- Nantucket Yard Sales
- The REAL Nantucket Yard & Estate Sales
News from the Natural Resources Department
Shell Recycling Program
There are only 4 restaurants still open that participate in the shell recycling program. So far in 2020, 31,339 pounds of oyster and quahog shell have been recycled which equates to about 313,390 oysters consumed. COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on oyster farmers, restaurants and raw bars. Evidence shows shell collection in 2020 is about half of what was collected in 2019 (a difference of 26,982 pounds!). In 2019 the shells collected would have generated for restaurants and raw bars around $204,123 based on each oyster costing $3.50 at a restaurant. In 2020 the shells collected would have generated $109,687 for restaurants and raw bars. A decrease in shell collection correlates to less shell available for oyster restoration projects and less revenue for oyster farmers, restaurants, and raw bars.
This season's data collection at the restoration site included species surveys, water quality sampling, natural oyster recruitment, oyster and eelgrass densities. Assistant Biologist Leah Hill will be analyzing this data and writing a report about the project's goals.