November in Town From the Desk of Town Manager Libby Gibson.

What's up in Town Administration?

2020 Annual Town Meeting

Work to develop the 2020 Annual Town Meeting warrant is well underway. Several articles are under discussion with the Select Board; citizen warrant article submittals period finished on November 18th and Town Admin is working on gathering all the information needed for the annual articles. The Finance Committee has a public hearing scheduled for citizen warrant articles on Thursday, December 12th at 4:00 pm at the Public Safety Facility first floor Community Room. Remember, the 2020 Annual Town Meeting will be held on Saturday, April 4th!

Paid Parking

One of the Select Board’s Strategic Plan Goals is: “launch a downtown parking management system based on demand management principles that achieves (or is measured by) 85% occupancy of public parking spaces”. There are several policy decisions that the Board must make with respect to the program, including: what the rate(s) will be, when paying for parking would start once a vehicle is parked in the paid parking area (ie, immediately, 30 minutes free? 1 hour free?); and whether to increase parking fines, among others. The Board held a public hearing on November 6th for the purpose of receiving public input on these decision points. After a lengthy discussion and significant indications of opposition to implementing paid parking for the summer of 2020, the Board agreed to close the public hearing and continue discussion at its November 20th meeting, with continued public input. Stay tuned on this!

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget & Capital Projects

Since our initial review of preliminary FY 21 General Fund budget projections, we have met with all departments to review their proposed budgets and are now evaluating the proposals and preparing budget recommendations for a presentation to the Board at its December 11th meeting. FY 21 capital project reviews are well underway with the Capital Program Committee (CapCom). CapCom is scheduled to make its recommendations to the Finance Committee and Select Board at the end of January/early February. We gave the Select Board a status report at its November 13th, 2019 meeting. We will provide a further update at the Board’s December 4th meeting.

Trisha Murphy is the Town's new Tax Collector

Trisha began in the Tax Office as Senior Clerk in January 11, 1996. The title for that position changed a couple of times over the years being an Administrative Specialist then Administrative Assistant. On January 2, 2019 Trisha was promoted to Assistant Tax Collector and on October 8, 2019 she became the Town's Tax Collector after former Collector Elizabeth Brown retired. In January 2020, Trisha will be celebrating her 24th anniversary with the Town!

The Tax Collector has the responsibility of ensuring timely collection of both real and personal property taxes, collection of Motor Vehicle Excise taxes, Boat Excise Taxes, as well as landfill fees.

Holly Backus is the Town's first Preservation Planner

In her capacity as the Town's new Preservation Planner, Holly spoke at the 2019 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference in Plymouth, MA on September 20th. She was a member of the "Climate Change: Resiliency and Preservation" panel where she discussed Nantucket's initiatives to help protect our historic island.

The Town will launch e-voting at 2020 Annual Town Meeting

Nantucket citizens will have the opportunity of e-voting at the next Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, April 4th, 2020.

Option Technologies, the firm hired for this launch, is utilized by a number of Massachusetts towns for their Town Meetings, including Eastham, Wayland, Arlington, Amherst, Weston, and Brookline. Wayland, which has a similar number of voters as Nantucket, has used Option Technologies for e-voting at Town Meetings for nearly 10 years.

Each voter will be checked in and issued a simple handset that will include voting buttons for Yes, No, and Clear. Once the Moderator has declared the vote final, the tally will be viewable on the large screen after approximately 30 seconds. This technology is well-vetted, simple, user friendly, and connected to a secure, private network. Helpdesk Staff will be available during the entire meeting. Many voters say they prefer the speed, accuracy, and privacy that e-voting allows. This launch will be a good opportunity for Nantucket voters to both try e-voting, and then voice their thoughts on its further usage.

Island-Wide Efforts to Protect Nantucket’s Ecosystem

Sustainability Assessment Project

Nantucket is continuing to take action toward a more sustainable and resilient future with two new projects launching this month: one focuses on assessing opportunities to operationalize sustainability within Town government and the other seeks to engage the entire island community to establish clear goals and actions to address climate change through the development of a climate action plan.

Cabinet at a Sustainability Assessment Project presentation by consultant Kim Lundgren from KLA.

In an effort to move forward on the goals identified in the Select Board’s Strategic Plan under Environmental Leadership, the Town of Nantucket, with generous funding from ReMain Nantucket, has initiated a process to identify, prioritize, and institutionalize sustainability principles and metrics into government operations. Through Cabinet presentations, interviews, and online engagement, our consultant team, Kim Lundgren Associates, Inc. (KLA), will help us build a working framework for sustainability that can be applied to our daily operations and set the example for the entire community.

In October, the Town also received a technical assistance grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to update and expand the 2011 Nantucket Energy Plan into a robust Climate Action Plan (CAP) to include specific recommendations, objectives, and action items for reducing the island’s greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of (imported) fossil fuels across all sectors. The CAP will establish community-wide climate mitigation goals and identify potential measures to achieve them. It will be an action-driven plan that lays out the pathway toward a sustainable, resilient, and healthy community for all islanders and visitors.

Single-Use Plastics Ban

Nantucket’s single-use plastics ban prohibits these single-use petroleum-based plastic products from being commercially used, sold or distributed:

Choose reusable options! Here are some ideas to help Nantucket reduce plastic pollution:

Choose refillable water bottles. There are many water stations on Island.
Choose refillable coffee pods for your brewing machine. Always use reusable mugs.
Use reusable straws. There are many options: glass, stainless steel, silicone, and bamboo.

Culture and Tourism acquires the Town’s first all-electric vehicle

The Nissan Leaf, purchased in part through a grant from the MassDEP, will be used by the Department of Culture & Tourism.

Culture and Tourism staff will use the vehicle to deliver educational and informative material to its satellite locations (Airport, Straight Wharf, Greenhound) and to serve as a mobile kiosk bringing information to places where visitors gather but kiosks do not exist such as Sconset, Madaket, island beaches, and community events. If you’d like the vehicle to show up at your event or location with visitor information, give a call to the Visitor Information Bureau at 508-228-0925.

Town of Nantucket Energy Coordinator Lauren Sinatra, Culture & Tourism Director Janet Schulte and Visitor Services Coordinator David Sharpe.

Turning plastic into art

The Department of Culture and Tourism is working with the Nantucket High School Art and Environmental Clubs to create art projects using “found” plastic material that will be placed in two or three store window locations around town in the mid-winter months. The art will both help to educate the public about the single-use plastics ban coming up in June 2020 and fill some vacant storefronts with student-created art work.

Protecting our sewer system helps protect our water quality

Nantucket Regional Transit Authority "The Wave" Year-Round Service

Public transportation plays an important role in confronting environmental challenges. When you choose public transportation instead of your personal car, you help:

  • Improve air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Facilitate compact development, conserving land and decreasing travel demand;
  • Reduce the number of vehicles on the road and the level of traffic noise.

The Wave provides year-round fixed route bus service on the Mid Island Loop, Miacomet Loop and Sconset via Old South Road Route. Buses do not operate Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day or on Easter.

November is American Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 10 Americans have diabetes — that’s more than 30 million people. And another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Depending on your age, weight, and other factors, you may be at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that making healthy changes can greatly lower your risk. To help prevent type 2 diabetes:

  • Watch your weight
  • Eat healthy
  • Get more physical activity

Sewer Master Plan

The Sewer Department, in collaboration with other town departments, including Planning and Land Use Services, Health Department, Natural Resources, Wannacomet Water, Public Works and Town Administration have been working with Weston & Sampson on the development of a Sewer Master Plan for the Town Sewer District wastewater collection system, which is the collection system tributary to the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF).

The Sewer Master Plan will help the Town to determine where and how to connect and route future wastewater flows into the existing wastewater collection system.

Town Sewer District collection system.

Ongoing infrastructure planning, such as a new Sea Street Pump Station force main, water system upgrades, stormwater system upgrades, and transportation/roadway projects are being coordinated with the sewer master planning analysis. This coordination will benefit the Town as a whole by having projects occur simmultaneously, which saves on construction and engineering costs, and reduces disruption.

Fall and Winter Activities - Recommendations from the Office of Culture and Tourism

Blue Planet Bingo

Stop by Visitor Services to pick up your Blue Planet Bingo card. It’s a fun game to learn about ways to be environmentally friendly. Complete a row across, down, or diagonal and return it to win a prize. The game will continue as long as cards and prizes last.

Atheneum's 18th annual Turkey Plunge

With the recent blast of chilly weather, it’s time to be getting ready for the various winter activities we welcome to the island in the shoulder season. The Atheneum’s 18th annual Cold Turkey Plunge will be held on Thanksgiving morning at 10 am at Children’s Beach. The costumes are always fun to see and there’s an occasional glimpse of a former Vice President joining the crowd to raise money for our library. No word yet on the Veep’s presence this year.

It's the Holidays!

East Street classic view of the Killen’s Dory

The Chamber’s Christmas Tree Lighting is Friday, November 29th followed by Christmas Stroll the following weekend, December 6 – 8. This year, with the Jared Coffin House undergoing renovations, Santa will be greeting children at the Whaling Museum’s Discovery Room. Ho! Ho! Ho!

New Year’s Eve on Nantucket this year will feature an afternoon of family-friendly activities offered by different non-profits and organizations at various locations around town and culminating in the 5 pm “Anchor Drop” at the Nantucket Hotel and Resort. Get your NYE gear ready for a frolicking afternoon of fun on Tuesday, December 31st.

News from the Natural Resources Department

Town of Nantucket Receives New Great Pond Permits

The Town, in a partnership with the Nantucket Pond Coalition, announced last week the receipt of new pond management permits from the Army Corps of Engineers that will allow the Town to modify the Town’s management options of two Great Ponds on Nantucket.

The Natural Resources Department held two public forums on pond management in 2018 and 2019 to hear public input regarding management of Nantucket ponds. After the forums, Natural Resources Director Jeff Carlson presented the Pond Management Principles to the Select Board in August of 2019, which were subsequently approved by the Select Board. Based on those principles, the Town applied for new permits for both Miacomet and Sesachacha Ponds.

The purpose of drawdown in Sesachacha and Hummock Ponds is primarily to allow exchange with seawater and increased salinity to support estuarine processes like fish spawning and oyster culture. Hummock Pond did not need permit renewal while Sesachacha did, but the current interpretation of the permits allows flood control as part of the management of those ponds as warranted.

The new permits also allow drawdown dates to coincide with the running of river herring, which spawn in the ponds each year as well as an option to undertake some additional dredging at Sesachacha should it be necessary to properly lower the water level. Actions will be adjusted to avoid impact to endangered species like piping plovers that nest on the barrier beaches to some of these ponds. This recent permitting helps set the stage for better management of all the ponds.

Commercial Scallop Season

Commercial scalloping season started on November 1 and the Natural Resources Department has been working very hard with local scallopers to manage dense scallop seed populations which will be next year’s scallop harvest.

Extreme wind events have caused two large seed stranding events and over 500 bushels of seed scallops have been rescued and returned to deeper waters through coordination with Natural Resources, scallopers and the local community.

Nantucketers gather together to help the Natural Resources team during the November 2 seed stranding in Wauwinet.

In addition to rescuing scallops from the beaches, large seed populations have been discovered in Polpis Channel. A large scale movement effort is being coordinated between the town biologist and local fishermen to relocate these seed to deeper water where they will grow, reproduce, and contribute to next year’s spawn season and eventual harvest.

Seed management has become a very important part of the Town’s shellfish stock enhancement strategy this season as we strive to improve our water quality and shellfish habitat. Recent reports this month of scallop populations dying off in the Peconic Bay and as far away as China has us moving seed populations around the harbor more than ever to make sure they have the best chance of surviving the winter and to optimize spawn potential in the spring.

Local scallopers moving scallop seeds out of Polpis Channel.

Assistant Biologist at the International Symposium on Stock Enhancement and Sea Ranching

Assistant Biologist Leah Cabral attended the International Symposium on Stock Enhancement and Sea Ranching at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL. The goal of the conference was to explore the scientific basis and practice of aquaculture-based and habitat-based fisheries enhancement, and identify where these approaches can be improved and integrated to provide innovative solutions and create new opportunities for resource management.

Top right: Leah with Dr. Kai Lorenzen, Asocciate Director and Professor of Integrative Fisheries Science at University of Florida, where Leah is studying for her Masters of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

This conference gave Leah the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with well known stock enhancement experts. Many were pleased that Nantucket runs a town shellfish hatchery and is prioritizing enhancement strategies for bay scallops, oysters, and quahogs. For more information about stock enhancement or sea ranching visit www.searanching.org.

Water Resource Specialist Represents Nantucket at the North American Lake Management Society

During the week of November 11, Water Resource Specialist Thaïs Fournier represented the Town at the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) 39th International Symposium in Burlington, Vermont.

Water Resource Specialist Thaïs Fournier and RJ Turcotte, Nantucket Land Council's Resource Ecologist at NALMS symposium.

The theme of the conference was Watershed Moments: Harnessing Data, Science, and Local Knowledge to Protect Lakes. NALMS mission is to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs. As the Town manages four of the island’s Great Ponds, this conference has been instrumental in learning new methodology to monitor water quality, educating the public, innovative technology to manage blue-green algae, and managing and preventing aquatic invasive species.

News from the Fire Department

New Fire Station Opening

The new Fire Station is move-in ready and the department is moving today, Wednesday, November 20th. An open house for the public will be scheduled for a later date.

The Town's new Fire Station is located at the Public Safety Facility, 4 Fairgrounds Road.

Community Wildfire Protection Plan

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has issued a contract to start development of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWP) and is a critical portion of the Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Island. This plan will provide for the development of a comprehensive wildland management plan to address potential wildland fires. Community and stakeholder meetings will be part of this plan to develop the best plan possible for the safety of the community while balancing the historical nature of the island.

Firefighters during training.

More Fire Department News: Congratulations to Firefighter David Angelastro for receiving his Firefighter Paramedic certification from the National Registry of EMTs! David is the first member of the first Nantucket Fire Department class to become certified. The Paramedic certification is a major piece of moving the Town from Basic Life Support (BLS) to Advanced Life Support (ALS) Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

2020 Census Complete Count Committee Seeking an Administrator

Our Island Home backyard

News from Our Island Home

  • November 25: Classical music performance by Mollie Glazer
  • November 27: Original songs and covers by Susan Berman
  • December 11: “Nanpuppets” puppet show
  • December 18: Nantucket Ballet School performance of the Nutcracker

All performances are at 4 PM at the Our Island Home living room area.

Our Island Home’s art class will have a tree on display at the Festival of Trees at the Whaling Museum, which runs from December 7th-31st 10am to 4pm (excluding Christmas Day).

Top left picture: Nanpuppets show; bottom left: a performance of The Nutcracker; right: Our Island Home Christmas tree.
Thank you for reading the Town of Nantucket Monthly e-News. We hope you enjoyed it!
Town of Nantucket - 16 Broad Street Nantucket, MA 02554

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Florencia Rullo