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

What's up in Town Administration?

** NO Select Board Meetings on November 11 or November 25 **

This time of year we are focused on initial preparations for the Annual Town Meeting and are well into FY 2022 budget development. Concurrently, while COVID-19 issues have required significant staff time and have caused some initiatives to be delayed, we remain busy with collective bargaining negotiations, updating the Board’s Strategic Plan, working to develop stormwater run-off and pool discharge regulations, long-term planning for projects such as Our Island Home and a new Senior Center; working with the Harbor Place Owner’s Group on future plans for the development of that area; working with the Sconset Beach Preservation Fund regarding the Sconset bluff erosion control project; and finalizing a project to codify all Town regulations into one location (similar to the Town Code – which contains all of the Town’s bylaws) to name a few.

2021 Annual Town Meeting

The 2021 Annual Town Meeting (ATM) is currently scheduled to begin on Monday, April 5, 2021 at 6:00 pm at Nantucket High School. The Select Board has so far had two initial discussions regarding potential warrant articles, on October 14th and November 4th. The next discussion is tentatively scheduled for November 18th and if that does not occur, then on December 2nd.

Note regarding Citizen Warrant Articles: 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. If you are considering submitting a Citizen Article, please refer to the attached guidance. Warrant articles are due by 4:00 pm on Friday, November 13. Please be sure that your article has the signatures of at least 10 registered voters.

FY 2022 General Fund Budget

We are continuing to receive and review the financial indicators and information that are used to develop the Town’s General Fund operating budget. We continue to expect that -- while some revenue sources are appearing better than initial projections (such as the Town’s share of room occupancy tax, which includes short-term rentals) -- FY 22 will be a difficult budget year due to uncertainty surrounding COVID19 and its impacts on the economy both nationally, regionally and locally. Several of the expense increases that were eliminated in the revised FY 21 budget need to be considered for Town operations and we will not be able to fund all of them. Our annual budget presentation with recommendations to the Select Board is currently scheduled for December 9th.

Strategic Plan

At the Board’s October 7th meeting, Town Administration provided an update as to implementation of the Board’s current Strategic Plan goals. Subsequently, the Board’s annual Strategic Plan retreat was a bit different this year and instead of meeting in person at an off-site location, in mid-October, the Board met in 2 sessions using Zoom. The retreat was facilitated by Julia Novak of The Novak Consulting Group – A Part of Raftelis. The retreat kicked off with a discussion about the Town’s response to the Covid pandemic. The Board discussed both the status of its Plan and associated goals and ideas for adding and/or modifying them. Town Administration is working with the Novak Group to compile the consensus into an updated Plan and report to the Board. We expect to present this to the Board before the end of the year.


Needless to say, the COVID19 Global Pandemic continues. It is evident that we are seeing signs in our own community of what one might call “COVID Fatigue” with people drifting from established safety protocols when they independently decide the protocols are not needed. As a result, we had two surges in cases in September; and surges have continued off and on into November. Until last week the Town was designated as a “high risk community” by the State. Last week, the State changed the risk criteria and rather than “red”, Nantucket is now “yellow” based on revised population criteria; however, when we see 11 cases in one day (as we did on November 7th), it is very alarming. Contact tracing shows that many cases are originating from communal housing and contacts with those in communal housing.

Safety protocols are in place for a reason. We cannot overemphasize enough the need to follow them and maintain them. This won’t last forever. But it most likely will last a few more months. We need to do our best to keep the vulnerable people in our community safe; keep our Hospital from becoming overwhelmed with cases; and keep our schools open. We are not out of the woods on this. We continue to work on ways in which reinforce, refresh and “reinvigorate” the need for adhering to safety protocols. Most recently, we updated our signage and have launched a video campaign. We have also partnered with the Hospital to issue “PPE Care Packages” to people in communal housing and have increased our outreach in other languages.

Employee News

Town of Nantucket Hires Dr. Karoline Oliveira as Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director

After a search and thorough recruitment process conducted by an interview workgroup comprised of Town officials and community members, Dr. Karoline Oliveira has been hired to fill the new position of Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director for the Town of Nantucket. In describing the final decision for hiring Dr. Oliveira, Town Manager Libby Gibson said “the process followed by our interview workgroup and Human Resources Department was extremely comprehensive and thorough – we are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to working with Dr. Oliveira to lead engaging initiatives within the community and Town workforce that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Dr. Oliveira was previously the Interim Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Life University, located in Marietta, Georgia. Dr. Oliveira comes to the Town with over sixteen years of experience leading and pioneering diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs, while also participating in keynote speaker engagements and facilitating training for student, faculty and staff in higher education. Her career has been marked with great achievements in DE&I, most notably at Life University, where she was the first appointed Director of DE&I and successfully conducted climate studies on inclusivity and presented her study findings to position diversity as one of the institution’s key competitive advantages. Dr. Oliveira has earned her Ed.D from Johnson & Wales University in higher education leadership and M.S/B.S from the University of Rhode Island with a focus on Human Development and Family Studies. Dr. Oliveira will start work with the Town on November 30th.

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Town of Nantucket

The Government Finance Officers Association of the US and Canada (GFOA) awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the Town of Nantucket for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.

The CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

Economic Recovery Task Force

Findings from the Nantucket COVID-19 Survey (Part 2)

In late September, a second survey measuring the economic impact of COVID 19 on Nantucket was sent to businesses and organizations. The survey also requested information about how these institutions were planning for the off-season and 2021. The initial analysis of the survey results can be found on the Town’s website at

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Projects for 2021

Since 2008, over 200 Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) undergraduate students have conducted over 60 research projects through WPI’s Nantucket Project Center. In collaboration with Nantucket government agencies and local non-profit organizations, WPI students conduct research on topics of importance to the Nantucket community.

Each year topics are submitted to the Project Center for consideration and the Project Director determines which projects meet the academic requirements of the WPI research curriculum as well as provide a clear benefit to Nantucket. Projects selected by the Director are assigned student project teams of 3-4 undergraduates majoring in a variety of disciplines. Each project is a semester-long undertaking begun in August and students use a variety of tools to collect and analyze data and complete comprehensive reports at the end of the semester. Normally the student teams come to Nantucket in October with their professors and stay through mid-December to finalize their projects and make final presentations to the public before semester’s end. This year, unfortunately due to COVID-19 precautions, students are not travelling to the island however through remote technologies they are able to manage their projects.

This year there are five research projects:

  • Reinforcing Nantucket Customs, sponsored by Town Administration and the Town's Office of Culture and Tourism
  • Managing Flooding in Nantucket, sponsored by the Town's Department of Natural Resources
  • Hazard Mitigation Gap Analysis, sponsored by Town Administration
  • Updating Nantucket’s Green House Gas (GHG) Inventory, sponsored by the Town's Energy Office
  • Interactive Whaling Map, sponsored by the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA)

Additional information on Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Nantucket Project Center can be found on the Town’s website.

2020 Elections: a Message from Town Clerk Nancy Holmes

The recent election saw Nantucket having a hefty 76 percent total voter turnout, which included nearly 5000 either Vote by Mail or Early Vote in person ballots. Early Voting was held for two straight weeks at the Town and County Building, and was attended by over 2500 early voters. Over 2600 voters turned out the day of the election, the remaining voters having voted by mail. Everything ran smoothly thanks to much hard work, and the overall mutual respectfulness of our voting public.

The Town Clerk’s Office would like to thank ALL election workers this year, particularly those who were able to help with the recent September Primary and the Nov. 3rd General Election and the corresponding Early Voting periods. A large group of election workers, along with Constables Perelman and Adams, Warden Psaradelis, and all the Facilities and Administrative staff at the Nantucket High School, and many others helped this election run very smoothly. There are too many to thank by name here, but we are very appreciative to ALL of you!

Finally, thank you to the many dozens of residents, young and not so young, who reached out and offered a helping hand for this election. We couldn’t use everyone, but we appreciated everyone and were thankful to have such a full list of helpers at the ready. Kudos to Nantucket!

Town Efforts to Protect Nantucket's Character and Environment

Community Design Guideline Charrette

The Town of Nantucket Community Design Guideline Charrette will take place on November 14 via Zoom Webinar.

The Resilient Nantucket Community Design Guideline Charrette hosted by the Town of Nantucket, is the second of four community forums addressing the topic of sea level rise and erosion impacts on the National Historic Landmark island of Nantucket.

Historic Preservation is most successful when the community is engaged, thus this is an opportunity for the community of Nantucket to not only learn about the process and the direction of the guidelines, but also inform the Town of Nantucket officials, HDC, and other decision-making bodies about what adaptation solutions best reflect Nantucket’s community values.

Last Friday, November 6, members of the Historic District Commission, Historical Commission, Town Staff, and fellow island preservationists, participated in the National Alliance of Preservation Commission's CAMP - "Commission Assistance & Mentoring Program." Today was the first part of a two-day training event, which was unanimously supported by the NP&EDC. The Town's preservation planner, Holly Backus has been working behind the scenes with NAPC to bring this important educational experience to Nantucket, prior to the pandemic.

Update on Sewer Projects for 2020-2021

Capacity Management Operations and Maintenance (CMOM)

The Capacity Management Operations and Maintenance (CMOM) repair replacement project is underway as a continuation of the Year 1 closed circuit television (CCTV) inspection work. The work will take place across the island using the multiple techniques listed below. Many of these projects will require traffic control with limited times when the roadways will closed in full. All roads will be reopened every night. The schedule is fluid and weather dependent, and every effort will be made to notify residents when work is scheduled. The construction period will be 3-4-years. Pictures and videos will be posted in the Sewer Department’s projects webpage on the Town’s website.

  • Complete replacements - All 6” sewer mains are being replaced to accommodate future capacities by installing replacements with 8” or 10” PVC-SDR.
  • Point Repairs - Mains that are in overall good shape but with specific defects are being repaired.
  • Cured-in-Place-Pipe (CIPP) – This pipe repair method is the most popular used in the U.S. for sanitary sewer and storm sewer repairs. This is new technology for Nantucket which will reduce costs. During the lining process there will be odors when the piping is being cured, but it is temporary and subsides very quickly. We will be performing door to door notification to residents when this type of work is scheduled. This process requires no excavation or paving unless a new manhole is needed.

North Liberty Street Water and Sewer Replacement Project

This project began at the end of the summer season 2019. The project, which was suspended during the COVID-19 closure, has resumed in the last month. The project work extends from West Chester all the way to India Street and requires daily traffic control for full road closures. Roadways will be reopened nightly.

Sea Street 3rd Sewer Force Main Project

This project to install a new 3.5-mile force main from the Sea Street pump station to the Surfside Treatment plant, will ultimately allow us to retire the force main that failed in January 2018. The Town’s consultant Environmental Partners Group (EPG) is currently in the design phase. Surveying and soil boring crews are on island and will be core drilling the entire length of the project. Some road closures from time to time will be required, and all efforts will be made to keep traffic flowing as much as possible. Streets within the project area include: Sea St., Step Ln., Center St. (between Step and Lily), the full length of Lily St., N. Liberty at Lily to Liberty at Gardner St, Liberty St. from Gardner to Winter St., Winter St. to Main St., across Main to Pine St., full length to Silver St., Silver to Pleasant St., Pleasant St. to Atlantic Ave, Atlantic Ave from five corners to Surfside Rd, and Surfside Rd to South Shore Rd. to the treatment plant. We anticipate construction in the 2021-2024 seasons. This project has own webpage on the Town’s website.

Surfside Area Sewer Replacement Project

This project is the result of a downstream Capacity Analysis conducted two years ago and the Sewer Master Plan. This project includes the installation of a new 15” gravity main from Vesper Lane to Miacomet Avenue. Work will also be performed on the Bartlett Road sewer main. A new sewer pumping station will be built off Windy Way. The new pump station is being designed with the future in mind and will include new and proven technologies. The existing pump station on a parcel diagonally across the road from the site of the new station will be subsequently retired but remain intact for any future needs. This project has been fully designed and is planned to go out to bid in the coming months, with some construction in the 2021 winter season. Ongoing construction is expected for 1-2-years. This project will have impact on traffic, with the impacts being planned with all stakeholders, including the School and NRTA buses.

November is American Diabetes Awareness Month

The CDC notes that having Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Because people with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing infections, they should take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Based on what we know at this time, having type 1 or gestational diabetes may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Actions to take

  • Continue taking your diabetes pills and insulin as usual.
  • Test your blood sugar and keep track of the results, as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your diabetes medicines, including insulin.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions if you are feeling ill as well as the sick day tips for people with diabetes.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your condition or feel sick.

Energy Office Updates

Nantucket PowerChoice prices stable as National Grid prices rise for winter

On November 1, National Grid's winter pricing took effect. Residential prices rose nearly 2.5 cents/kWh to 12.388 cents/kWh. As an alternative, the Nantucket PowerChoice program from the Town offers long-term, fixed pricing that does not change seasonally. The Nantucket PowerChoice price of 11.3 cents/kWh is lower than National Grid's 6-month winter price, and it will not change until November 2021.

Participating in Nantucket PowerChoice offers the added benefits of helping to add new clean, renewable electricity to the local power grid. Through Nantucket PowerChoice, residents and businesses on Nantucket directly support the Nantucket Solar Rebate program, which provides financial incentives for the development of residential solar projects on Nantucket. By supporting the development of new solar projects on the island, Nantucket PowerChoice is helping to reduce the demand for electricity from the grid during peak electricity use hours, which can lower electricity costs for the whole community.

For those who wish to make an ever greater commitment to clean electricity, Nantucket PowerChoice offers the PowerChoice Green option. For a small premium, this option provides electricity that is 100% from clean, renewable sources.

Nantucket PowerChoice is a green electricity aggregation, a form of group electricity purchasing in which the Town of Nantucket selects an electricity supplier on behalf of residents and businesses, secures a long-term price for electricity supply, and works to increase the amount of renewable electricity in the community’s electricity supply. Nantucket PowerChoice is a consumer-friendly alternative to National Grid’s Basic Service and other electricity supply offers in the marketplace.

More information is available by visiting the program website at NantucketPower.org, calling customer service at 1-844-241-8598, or by contacting Lauren Sinatra, the Town’s Energy Coordinator at lsinatra@nantucket-ma.gov.

Meet Your Town Volunteers

Board of Health Chair Stephen Visco

Board of Health Chair Stephen Visco

How long have you lived on Nantucket?

Other than a few years away at college, I’ve lived here all of my 55 years.

What is your job?

I’m self-employed and run a septic service company

How long have you served on the (committee, board, commission, volunteer position)?

I’ve served on the Board of Health since 2011.

Have you served on any other Town boards or committees besides that one?

No time for any others at this point.

What interests you about serving the Town that makes you want to be involved?

Growing up, my father served on many boards, including the Planning Board and the Land Bank. He led by example and instilled in us a responsibility to serve our community in some capacity.

What is the most rewarding part about serving?

It’s nice, particularly during this recent pandemic, when people appreciate the tough decisions that are being made. Total strangers will come up to me and thank me for my efforts, for helping to keep the community safe, even when the decisions aren’t necessarily popular.

What is the most challenging part?

Sometimes the decisions we make aren’t always the most popular, but we still need to keep the safety of the island and its residents at the forefront.

If you could change one thing about Town government, what would it be?

I think the Town’s population has outgrown the Town Meeting form of government. It might be time to elect a mayor.

What is your favorite spot on Nantucket?

I spent a lot of time with the Bartlett family on their farm when I was growing up, and I’d have to say the farm and the Hummock Pond area is still probably my most favorite.

Which of the following do you think would attract more voters to Town Meeting?

I think Town Meeting can be intimidating for some people. Not everyone gets how it works or understands all of the rhetoric when it comes to procedure or the zoning articles, etc. I think more people would get involved if it was a little less complicated.

Easy Street views on a foggy morning.

Winter Festivities

Stroll 2020

  • The Chamber’s annual celebration of Stroll will be different this year with a more local focus. And, the DPW crews will once again install the trees on Main Street and around the downtown. The lighting of the big tree at the Pacific National Bank will be a virtual experience, broadcast on NCTV18 at 4:30 pm on Friday, November 27. Main Street will NOT be closed and residents are encouraged to light their own trees at home at the same time the big tree’s lighting is broadcast. Stay safe this holiday season!

News from the Natural Resources Department

Sesachacha and Hummock Ponds Openings

Bi-annual pond openings represent a hydraulic management technique and facilitate dilution of high-nutrient pond waters with low-nutrient ocean waters. In addition to flushing of the pond, openings also allow access for anadromous fish (fish that spend most of their lives in saltwater and return to freshwater to spawn).

Hummock Pond is opened to the ocean twice per year, spring and fall, with varied timing and duration over the years. In general, openings last one to three weeks, lower the pond by about half its volume, and refill it to about the 75% mark. The remaining 25% of pond volume is refilled more gradually by groundwater and direct precipitation, with refill requiring at least a month, longer during dry periods. There is variation in the duration of opening and change in pond volume, and the impact varies along a gradient from ocean to inland.

Sesachacha was opened on October 7 and closed within one day due to low water levels. Hummock was opened on October 9 and closed on October 13. Water quality samples were taken before opening and one week after closing (currently processing water quality data). Water quality sampling has finished for the season and will restart in spring with pond openings.

Harmful Algal Blooms Monitoring Program

Harmful Algal Blooms Monitoring Program extended into November as blooms have been persistent with continued warmer weather. Monitoring is typically performed once a week from June through September.

Thank You to Our Interns for Another Amazing Season!

Although it was a different field season we got everything done we needed to pretty seamlessly We had a great group of interns this year so we want to thank them all for being so flexible and hard working! Thank you Meaghan Dunn, Alexandra Fink, Griffin Hawkins, Emily Wittaker, and David Berry!

In Preparation of Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day 2019.

Veteran’s Day is November 11, 2020. Used United States Flags are traditionally properly disposed of annually on this day. Locally our Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter handles this activity. Used flags are accepted at four different locations:

  1. Recycling Center Drop-Off
  2. Nantucket Public Safety Facility/Fire Department
  3. Nantucket VFW
  4. American Legion

Winter Tips from the Fire Department

Saltmarsh Senior Center News

November Activities

  • All fitness classes are available via Zoom, collaborating with three senior websites to offer on line tours, programs, classes, activities and discussion groups.
  • Saltmarsh Senior Center drive-thru continues in November with a cup-o-soup and a biscuit.
  • Contact Laura Stewart at 508-228-4490 or lstewart@nantucket-ma.gov for question on Saltmarsh Senior Center activities calendar.
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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