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

What's up in Town Administration?

During October in Town Admin, we are starting to seriously focus on the development of warrant articles for the annual town meeting webpage, as well as budget development and capital projects reviews for the next fiscal year. This year, among our regular day-to-day activities we are gearing up for the 2020 Single Use Plastics Ban which goes into effect on June 1, 2020; and paid parking implementation to begin in the spring of 2020.

2020 Annual Town Meeting

We overhauled our “Guide to Preparing a Citizen Warrant Article” and encourage you to please read through this if you are considering a submittal. It’s an easy read! Any questions, please feel free to email townmanager@nantucket-ma.gov. Meanwhile, the 2020 Annual Town Meeting (ATM) is scheduled for Saturday, April 4 and during October, November and December, during its Wednesday meetings, the Select Board will be reviewing potential articles for the warrant, beginning October 16, 2019. In case you haven’t heard yet, we are planning to introduce e-voting at the 2020 ATM. We have received a concern about the potential impact of the transmitters on public health through the release of electro-magnetic energy. We have made some inquiries about this and are advised that the health risk is extremely low as the transmitters release energy less than that from a cell phone and only for a few seconds at a time. Nonetheless, we are planning to set up an area near the non-voter section at town meeting for those with concerns. They will be able to vote by paper ballot, when we are using the e-voting devices.

FY 2021 Budget & Capital Projects

We reviewed preliminary FY 21 General Fund budget projections with the Board at its September 18, 2019 meeting. Budget instructions have gone out to the departments and we are beginning individual departmental reviews this week. We will be presenting Town Administration budget recommendations to the Board at its December 11th meeting. FY 21 capital project reviews are well underway with the Capital Program Committee (CapCom). CapCom will make its recommendations to the Finance Committee and Select Board in January. We gave the Select Board a status report at its October 2, 2019 meeting.

2020 Single Use Plastics Ban

On June 1, 2020, pursuant to a Special Town Meeting vote in October 2018, the following single-use plastics will be banned from commercial sale and distribution on the Island:

  • Straws and drink stirrers
  • Six-pack can and bottle flexible yokes
  • Drinking cups and lids
  • Non-compostable plates and eating utensils
  • Drinking water in bottles of 1 liter or less (plain, unflavored, non-carbonated drinking water)
  • Non-recyclable coffee pods

We held three public informational sessions about the ban over the summer, have met with several groups, including the Nantucket Association of Real Estate Brokers, Nantucket Town Association, Stop & Shop, local Clubs, Nantucket Community Association and Massachusetts Beverage Association. We expect an upcoming article in Veritas about the ban. We are also working on some initiatives to help the public with the ban, including the installation of additional water filling stations around the island, a “recognition” campaign and the Nantucket Land Council will be working with the schools to educate students about the ban. Any questions regarding the ban, please email ackplasticsban@nantucket-ma.gov.

Paid Parking – 2020

At the Board’s October 9th meeting, we gave an update on our work to implement one of the Board’s Strategic Plan Goals: “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, 30 minutes free? 1 hour free?); and whether to increase parking fines, among others. After a lengthy discussion, with input from citizens present at the meeting, the Board voted to hold a public hearing on the program on November 6th.

Upgrades in the North Liberty Street Area

The Sewer Department, Wannacomet Water, and Public Works have started a water, sewer, storm water systems replacement project in the North Liberty Street area. The current infrastructure has passed its lifetime and requires full replacement. The infrastructure replacement project will also require road repaving and associated improvements.

Going forward, it is the Town's goal to coordinate needed infrastructure improvements in one project, for cost benefits, and to minimize disruption.

And…

- We held our annual post-season beach meeting with staff at the beginning of October. Issues from the summer included pallet fires (mostly addressed early in the season), shark sightings (protocol implemented several times) loose dogs and dog waste (a continuing problem) and erosion issues (also a continuing problem in some areas).

- The Board held a public hearing about the Stop signs at the Bartlett Road/Surfside Road intersection on October 2nd and voted to keep them in; the Board also discussed the status of plans for a round-a-bout at that location and those plans are currently continuing.

Aerial view of Surfside Road and Bartlett Road intersection.

- As you can see in your travels about the mid-island area, we have removed the plantings at the Milestone Rotary and Mid-Island Round-a-bout – this is mainly because we clearly cannot keep up with the weeding necessary to maintain them during the summer. We will be planting grass at both locations, which is much easier to maintain. There has also been concern that the James W. Coffin Memorial located in the Milestone Rotary, is obscured by the plantings, this will also address that.

Milestone rotaty

Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition & Conference

Sewer Director David Gray was a speaker at the WEFTEC 2019 (Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference).

WEFTEC is the Water Environment Federation's 92nd annual technical exhibition and conference, which is the world's largest annual water quality event. WEF (Water Environment Federation) and the WEFTEC conference bring together people who are involved professionally in the water environment, with a specific focus on wastewater, stormwater, watershed and utility management issues, and related fields. The 2019 conference in Chicago had over 22,000 registered attendees, and covered a wide range of content.

Sewer Director David Gray and Weston & Sampson Vice-President Kent Nichols.
View of a cloudy sky from Cisco Beach

Storm Season on Nantucket - What You Need to Know.

The National Weather Service has notified us that another powerful coastal storm will be impacting Nantucket today. As well all know, storm season has started.

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding and rip currents. When hurricanes cause storm surge, deep waters can be produced and pushed towards the shore, destroying property and endangering lives. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

Follow these tips to always be safe during storm season:

  • Stay connected: Subscribe to the Town of Nantucket Alert System.
  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the safest evacuation route, and shelter locations. Nantucket's shelter is at the Nantucket High School, 10 Surfside Road.
  • Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
  • Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Review insurance policies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Breast cancer can be prevented and detected. Stay informed!

CyberSecurity Awareness Month

The Information Technology department has been spending time testing and ensuring that the Town’s cyber security, is, well, secure. We have all probably heard about cities and towns falling victim to “Ransomware”, nasty viruses and hackers and IT is constantly working to keep our network as secure as possible.

Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. This year's theme is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT”. NCSAM 2019 emphasizes personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace.

  1. Own IT: Use secure sites with https:// when shopping or banking; don’t click on links from unknown sources; never share personal information.
  2. Secure IT: Use multi-factor authentication; lock your device when you walk away – even for a minute; use a long password.
  3. Protect IT: Use sites with the “green lock” icon; beware of free WiFi in public spaces; update your security software.

For more information about connecting with confidence, visit the National Security Awareness Month website.

National Grid Unveils New England’s Largest Battery Storage Facility, Back-up Energy Supply

On Tuesday, October 8, we attended the National Grid battery storage ribbon cutting. This is great news for Nantucket!

To meet Nantucket’s energy needs over the long term, and to defer the need for a third submarine cable, National Grid has developed a plan to upgrade the island’s electrical infrastructure. With the support from the Town and in partnership with Tesla, NGrid has installed a new battery energy storage system (BESS) with a capacity of 48-megawatt hours (MWh). This new system will provide the island with six megawatts of capacity for up to 8 hours.

"Energy demand on Nantucket is growing – and growing fast. According to National Grid, the demand for energy on the island between 2008 and 2013 grew at five times the rate of energy demand on the mainland. And it is projected to continue to grow at a rate three times more than mainland Massachusetts over the next 10 years," said Town Manager Libby Gibson.

"The Town of Nantucket commends National Grid’s decision to deploy an innovative energy storage solution on the island,” said Town of Nantucket Energy Coordinator Lauren Sinatra. “We are confident that this innovative hybrid-project, combined with targeted energy saving programs will play a transformational role in meeting Nantucket’s near- and long-term energy needs and sustainability goals."

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

  • The community’s celebration of Herman Melville’s 200th birthday continues next month with a marathon reading of Moby Dick at the Atheneum on Saturday, November 16 and Sunday, November 17. Watch for more news from the Atheneum to sign up to be one of readers!
  • The Office’s website (visitnantucketisland.org) will continue to publish its highly popular Weekly Restaurant List throughout the fall and winter so you’ll know who is open and when! The list gets updated every Monday just in time for the lunch crowd. The website will also continue to publish its Lodging Availability list.
  • Looking for a new walk to take this fall? Stop by the Visitor Services Building at 25 Federal Street or check out the website for walking maps to follow in the footsteps of Maria Mitchell or Herman Melville or a map of Sconset which includes information about the very lovely Ruddick Commons walk just at the end of Milestone Road. The website also has more than a dozen itineraries for how to spend a day on Nantucket, including several for families!
  • If you’re in town, stop by Visitor Services and tell us some of your favorite ways to spend time on Nantucket and maybe a version of your itinerary will appear on the website.
Fall sunset and Madaket views

2020 Census is Seeking Census Takers!

The local 2020 Census Complete Count Committee's mission entails promoting and engaging in effective methods of outreach and networking with various communities of year-round residents to facilitate the completion of the 2020 Census.

The CCC seeks to raise awareness across the island that the nationwide allocation of upwards of $22 federal billion government dollars is inextricably linked to census response results. These federal funds will directly and positively impact all of our year-round residents by funding critical programs (housing, education, healthcare, and transportation). Accurate census results also ensure equal political representation.

News from the Natural Resources Department

The Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Department was awarded a $42,225 coastal resilience grant by Coastal Zone Management last month.

Natural Resources Director Jeff Carlson (left) and Assistant Shellfish Biologist Leah Cabral (right) with Coastal Zone Management Cape and Islands Regional Coordinator Steve McKenna (center).

This grant will cover the preparation of engineered plans, filing permitting applications, and final construction costs for a project in Sesachacha Pond. The project area is in the south part of the Pond where a section of Polpis Road failed and was closed for a number of weeks two winters ago. It incorporates eco-friendly structures that serve as oyster habitat as well as wave attenuation. In addition, the coastal dune bank will be re-stabilized using native plants and marsh grass which will protect Polpis Road during storm events.

This project represents an innovative approach to shoreline stabilization and in pond water quality management while advancing the Town’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan and Hazard Mitigation Plan goals of using nature-based techniques for protecting vulnerable roads and public access. The Town and the Natural Resources Department want to thank the Quidnet and Squam Homeowner’s Association which funded the preliminary in-pond surveys and helped move the project along.

Benthic Ecological Survey

Long-term benthic ecological monitoring programs are critical to understanding how human impacts are altering coastal ecosystems and evaluating the efficacy of shellfish population restoration work and initiatives aimed at mitigating environmental issues.

A benthic ecological survey had been conducted every September for nearly a decade (2006 - 2014) in Nantucket Harbor up until a few years ago by the Maria Mitchell Association (most recently led by Dr. Peter Boyce). Researchers from Cornell Cooperative Extension and Stony Brook University conducted a similar benthic ecological survey during September of 2019 and re-established an annual benthic ecological monitoring program, including the evaluation of seagrass coverage and the abundance of bay scallops, channeled whelk, and knobbed whelk.

This data will provide valuable insight into the relative distribution and abundance of these species and give us a snapshot of the ecosystem health of Nantucket Harbor during September of 2019. Arguably more importantly, we will be able to compare this data to data from benthic ecological surveys conducted from 2006 through 2014 to evaluate how these ecosystem parameters have changed over time and the effects of bay scallop restoration efforts and environmental impact mitigation measures. This project was generously funded though the Great Harbor Yacht Club’s Foundation Grant.

Waste Summit Follow-Up Sessions: Today - Hazardous Waste Collection

Public Works invites you to the Waste Summit Follow-Up Sessions: Hazardous Waste Collection. Today, Thursday, October 17 from 6 pm to 8 pm, in the PSF Training Room at 4 Fairgrounds Road.

Please join us for the Waste Summit follow-up sessions, which will focus on each of the Waste Summit topics in more depth.

Our Island Home backyard

News from Our Island Home

  • October 17: Rock'N'Roll cover and original tunes with Steve Tornovish
  • October 21: Classical piano with Mollie Glazer
  • October 23: Folk tunes and original songs with Susan Berman
  • October 24: Classical guitar with Jim Sulzer
  • October 28: Classical piano with Mollie Glazer
  • October 30: Classical and contemporary rock music with PJ Moody and friends
  • October 31: Rock'N'Roll cover and original tunes with Steve Tornovish

All events start at 4 PM in the Our Island Home living room and they are free!

Saltmarsh Senior Center deck.

Saltmarsh Senior Center

Past Events:

  • Our monthly Beading class
  • Elder law attorney, Arthur Bergeron, talked about “Getting the Help you Need to Stay Independent”
  • Fall Vegetable Soup class - the soup was to die for!! Click here for the recipe.

Upcoming Events:

  • Today, October 17 at 1:30 PM: Paul Connors playing Vaudeville Songs
  • October 19 from 10 AM to 1 PM: Island Health Fair & Elder Expo (Valet Parking Available)
  • October 21 at 1:15 PM: Halloween Cookie Decorating
  • October 21 at 5 PM: Saltmarsh Dinner sponsored by Fusaro’s
  • October 24 at 1:30 PM: Monthly Beading Class
  • October 24 at 3 PM: Elder law attorney, Arthur Bergeron, talking about “Making the Last of your Life as Good as it Can Be”
  • October 24 at 4 PM: Senior Center Committee Meeting
  • October 25 at 8 AM: First of the season Men’s Breakfast
  • October 26 from 9 AM to 1 PM: Nantucket Center for Elder Affairs annual yard sale at the Saltmarsh benefitting the Saltmarsh
  • October 31 at 1:30 PM: Identity Theft & Fraud Prevention
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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