What's up in Town Administration?
2021 Annual Town Meeting and Town Election
Mark your calendars - at the Select Board’s August 19th meeting, the 2021 Annual Town Meeting (ATM) and Annual Town Election (ATE) dates were set:
- Monday, April 5 – 2021 ATM will start
- Tuesday, April 13 – 2021 ATE
The timeline is under “final construction” and will be posted to the Town website as soon as possible. If you are a citizen whose article was called at the June 25, 2020 ATM but not voted on, it will be automatically placed on the 2021 Annual Town Meeting warrant – you do not need to take any further action to ensure that it goes on the warrant.
Our Island Home
At the 2017 ATM, a proposal was put forward to purchase property adjacent to Sherburne Commons and appropriate funds to construct a new facility at that site. That proposal was not approved by voters. Subsequently, a review was undertaken as to what it would take to construct a new, or renovate the current, facility at the current site. A final report was presented to the Select Board in September of 2019. The estimated cost was approximately $50,000,000. It was generally agreed by the Board to take this under consideration. Most recently, an internal group has been organized to “jump start” planning for Our Island Home. We engaged a facilitator to help determine consideration factors including facts vs assumptions; core community values; options and possibilities – with associated strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a so-called SWOT analysis); and, a plan to obtain public input. We are currently in the process of scheduling public input sessions with various stakeholder groups and the community at large, beginning in September. Stay tuned on this!
Third Sewer Force Main Project
As painful as it is to recall, the Town experienced a serious failure in one of the two sewer force mains (SFM) that runs from the Sea Street pump station to the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Facility, during a severe winter storm on January 4, 2018 (later classified as a “bomb cyclone”). The main was evaluated and repaired over the next several months following the storm and the second (back up) sewer force main was activated. During the evaluation process, it was recommended that a third SFM be considered. At the June 25, 2020 Annual Town Meeting, an appropriation of $32,000,000 was approved for construction. Meanwhile, potential routes have been evaluated, using an alternatives analysis. A presentation on this project has been scheduled for the Board’s September 9, 2020 meeting. Once the Board has settled on a specific route, the detailed planning necessary for this project may commence.
In recent months, Nantucket Memorial Airport has been responding to concerns about PFAS—or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances - in drinking water wells adjacent to Airport property. Under the direction of MassDEP and following an approved Immediate Response Action (IRA) Plan, the Airport and its licensed site professional (“LSP”) are taking the necessary actions to meet all regulatory requirements and guidelines provided by the MassDEP. Any questions about PFAS testing at the Airport should be directed to Noah Karberg, Assistant Airport Manager.
PFAS is a class of man-made chemicals which are used in firefighting foam and numerous everyday products, including nonstick cookware, grease-proof food packaging, personal care products, stain- and water-resistant clothing, carpets, and furniture. For decades, these carbon-fluoride compounds were widely used for their water and oil repellent qualities and are resistant to breakdown. Some PFAS has been found to accumulate in the human body and the food chain. The presence of PFAS in the environment (groundwater, surface water, soil, air, and food) is still poorly understood due to very limited testing.
Considering the PFAS condition at the Airport, the Town is taking steps to perform an assessment of where else PFAS may be a contaminant across the Island. The Town has hired CDM Smith, an environmental consultant, and will develop an initial risk assessment of other potential sources contributing to PFAS contamination. The CDM Smith team brings the experience of a large engineering consulting firm with a team of recognized PFAS experts and local staff to assist us in this evaluation. The PFAS evaluation and the information gathered will help us identify the steps and future actions needed to meet regulatory requirements and guidelines. This initial assessment is planned to be complete in October.
To work alongside CDM Smith, the Town has assembled a PFAS Action team, including representatives of the Sewer, Health and Natural Resources Departments, Public Works, Town Administration, Airport, and Wannacomet Water Company to meet on a regular basis and coordinate related activities. This team reports to the Town Manager.
More information and updates about PFAS are available on the Town’s website and Airport PFAS website. Questions about PFAS and testing can be emailed to PFAS@Nantucket-ma.gov
Trash remains one of the more galling issues this summer – we really need everyone’s help to clean up after themselves! There is NO reason why our Island cannot be significantly free of roadside litter. This unnecessary trash is mostly caused by unsecured loads from irresponsible parties; certain (not all) businesses and restaurants not properly picking up after their customers – this has been exacerbated by outdoor dining this summer; and, of course, negligence by some members of the general public. The DPW and the Clean Team can only do so much. If you would like to get involved with picking up trash once a week for one hour at a different location around the island each week (8am – 9am on Saturday mornings, spring thru fall), please contact Bill Connell at email@example.com – otherwise known as Mr. Clean. Bill, along with Sarah Oktay and Grant Sanders, founded the Clean Team in 2004 and has been working to keep our Island clean ever since. Thank you Clean Team!
Town Administration has received several complaints this summer pertaining to construction noise. The chief concern being that it starts too early. The Town’s Noise Bylaw may be found here. The Select Board has discussed potential amendments over the years and did put forward amendments which were approved at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting. If you believe that the Noise Bylaw is actually being violated, please call Police Dispatch at 508-228-1212 to report it. Contrary to popular opinion, construction work is allowed throughout the island, year-round.
Economic Recovery Post COVID-19
This summer many innovations and adaptations have been implemented to enable businesses and organizations to take strides towards economic recovery after the COVID 19 shutdown last spring and continuing restrictions. In April, the Town convened an Economic Recovery Task Force with members representing different sectors of the economy. Their task was to recommend actions and policy adjustments that Town government could take to assist businesses. A Back-to-Business Work Group of Town employees was then formed to find ways to implement ideas generated by the Task Force. Restaurants, merchants and non-profits were creative in taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them by the nimble and quick work of Town staff and the Select Board’s rapid response.
In the next few weeks, the Task Force will be reconvened to identify other recommendations to support economic recovery activity. EBP, a research firm that prepared and analyzed an economic impact survey last April, will be preparing a follow-up survey to be distributed in late summer/early fall. The survey information will also help to develop initiatives to support businesses and organizations moving forward through the shoulder season and into the holidays. We anticipate changes to community revered holiday activities, including Halloween, Christmas Tree Lighting, Christmas Stroll, and the December 24th Red Ticket Drawing.
Are you one of the missing?
We estimate that about 550 year round households on Nantucket have not completed the 2020 US Census. If yours is one of those households, now’s the time! Seasonal households are asked to take the Census, too. The response period ends September 30.
Visit 2020census.gov, choose your language, and take the Census online today. You can also get help from a Census taker. These are local people who have been trained to conduct census work – including for Covid-19 safety protocols. They carry official identification and devices, and will be knocking on doors 9 AM - 9 PM over the next month. If you’re not home when they visit, they’ll leave a notice with important information about how to respond online, and they’ll return as time allows.
Census takers have begun to visit households that haven’t yet responded to the Census online, by phone, or by returning their Census forms by mail. In some cases, they’re following up with households who HAVE completed the Census, to clarify or verify information provided. Title 13 of the US Code protects the privacy of individual US Census data, so Census takers don’t know whether this is the purpose of their visit. While it can be frustrating, please remember that it’s an important part of getting a complete and accurate count – and they are working hard to make sure that all year round and seasonal households are counted.
The US Census is a constitutionally-mandated process. Population totals from the 2020 US Census will determine federal funding for programs and services we need in our community, and will dictate our representation in Congress as well as the number of Electoral votes we have in Massachusetts – all for the next TEN years.
The US Census only takes place in years that end with “0”. It is NOT the annual Town Census. It IS a critical tool and an opportunity to make sure every voice is heard and that the vibrancy of our community is recognized and represented.
NCTV18 is currently working on a multimedia series called Spotlight Q&A, hosted by Complete Count Committee Administrator Martha Tirk. She’ll talk with community members about topics including Census safety and confidentially, why taking the Census is important to YOU, and the difference between the US Census and the Town Census. If you have specific questions you would like to hear addressed during this series, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 26th. This series is set to premiere in early September and we’ll provide schedule specifics as information becomes available.
If you need help to complete the US Census, or have questions, please contact Nantucket’s 2020 Census Complete Count Committee at email@example.com.
Voting Methods for the September 1, 2020 State Primary
Early Voting by Mail (available for ALL 2020 ELECTIONS):
- Last day to register to vote and change party enrollment for State primary was Saturday, August 22, 2020.
- Last day to apply for an Absentee or Early Vote Ballot BY MAIL before the State Primary is Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at 5 PM. To apply for a vote by mail ballot visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2020-Vote-by-Mail-Application.pdf
- Fill out, sign and send to Town Clerk (16 Broad Street or firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: 508-325-5313).
Early Voting in Person (16 Broad St.):
- Saturday, August 22, 2020 - Friday, August 28, 2020.
- ** HOURS**: Saturday 8/22: 2 PM to 4 PM and 6 PM to 8 PM; Sunday 8/23: 9 AM to 1 PM; Monday 8/24 - Friday, 8/28: 9 AM to 3 PM.
Vote at the Polls:
- Tuesday, September 1, 2020 (Nantucket High School, 10 Surfside Road): 7 AM to 8 PM.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital on Covid-19 Contact Tracing
Please Plan Ahead for Your COVID-19 Test at Nantucket Cottage Hospital
If you anticipate needing a non-medically necessary (asymptomatic) COVID-19 test for travel, school or other purposes in the coming weeks and months, Nantucket Cottage Hospital urges you to plan ahead by applying for a testing appointment as soon as possible.
Governor Charlie Baker’s new travel order is now in effect, which requires all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts from out of state who do not meet an exemption to complete a Travel Form and quarantine for 14 days unless they can demonstrate proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival. You may obtain a test at your own expense after your arrival in Massachusetts, but you must quarantine until you obtain a negative result.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital is able to schedule asymptomatic COVID-19 tests ahead of time, and is urging those who may need to be tested to request a testing appointment at NCH as far in advance as possible by clicking here. Non-medically necessary COVID-19 tests are available at NCH for $150 per test by appointment only.
Patients with one or more symptoms of COVID-19 should arrive without an appointment at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance portico. The costs of these medically-necessary COVID-19 tests are completely covered whether you have insurance or not.
COVID-19 testing hours of operation:
- Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday to Sunday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.