September in Town From the Desk of Town Manager Libby Gibson

What's up in Town Administration

Town Meetings

This time of year, we are busy initiating preparations for the upcoming Annual Town Meeting (scheduled to start Tuesday, May 7, 2024) and budget development for the next fiscal year. This involves scheduling dozens of meetings, looking at what has come up since or before the last town meeting with respect to potential warrant articles and budget requests; economic indicators; and numerous other factors and emerging information for both the town meeting and the budget. This year we are also preparing for a special town meeting on November 7, 2023. The Finance Committee is finishing its motions to the warrant articles and the Select Board will be considering any comments it might have to warrant articles, on October 4th. The warrant will then be printed and mailed to voters 2 weeks prior to the town meeting. The warrant has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese (available on the Town website).

Short Term Rental Special Town Meeting Articles 1 & 2 - Virtual Info Sessions:

These info sessions will feature panelists from the Finance Committee, Town Counsel, and the disbanded Short-Term Rental Work Group, and will be moderated by Select Board Vice Chair Brooke Mohr. See the Short Term Rental Articles FAQ page for more information on the articles.

FY 2025 General Fund Budget

A strong real estate market is certainly an indication of economic conditions – and Nantucket’s real estate market could be described as "holding," currently. There are other indicators as well, such as unemployment, interest rates, inflation, wages, economic sentiment, local receipts, grant opportunities and state aid. We are monitoring these on a regular basis. Our FY 25 budget projections take these factors into consideration. We hope to continue our focus on operational areas that need additional resources, including infrastructure, project management, facility maintenance, staffing, recruitment and retention, and furthering items in the Select Board Strategic Plan. We reviewed our preliminary projections with the Finance Committee on September 12th and the Select Board on September 27th. Our budget recommendations will be reviewed with the Select Board on December 13th.

We are also continuing to evaluate recruitment and retention strategies, including housing. In 2022, we engaged a consulting firm to develop a compensation and classification study for Town employees outside of the School Department. The study was completed this year and presented to the Select Board on May 10, 2023. We are planning to “refresh” the schedule during this fiscal year. It is important that the Town be competitive with compensation including benefits in order to attract and retain the employee resources needed to operate. With respect to housing, like most employers on the island, we have a serious and growing problem housing our employees. At the 2022 Annual Town Meeting, voters approved a $1M appropriation for a Town employee housing assistance pilot program. After significant research and discussion with our unions, we were not able to reach agreement on a specific program. The complexities of it were also making it very difficult, with equity, tax and other issues. We are seeking to re-appropriate these funds at the November 7th Special Town Meeting for a different employee housing initiative. We have also been renting and occasionally purchasing, as funds allow, housing for Town employees.

Other Select Board/Town Administration News/Activities

  • Sconset Beach Preservation Fund erosion control project – will be discussed by the Select Board on October 4th
  • Planning for storm water infrastructure improvements around the Island
  • Planning for multi-use path and road improvement projects around the Island
  • Our Island HomeSenior Center project
  • Preparing for an October Select Board Strategic Planning workshop. The Select Board will hold its annual workshop on October 24th to review progress on its Strategic Plan and current goals. The Department Heads have completed a survey indicating their sense of the Town’s emerging needs. That information is being compiled by the consulting firm, Raftelis, to present at the workshop and to help frame the Select Board’s discussion.
  • Review of significant upcoming capital projects with the Select Board on September 27th
  • Planning for Somerset Sewer Needs Area sewer extension project - overview provided to the Board on September 20th
  • Solid waste long-term planning
  • For the Record - The Town recognizes the importance of responding to the media to ensure transparent communication, provide accurate information, and build trust with our community. Read the latest responses to local coverage here.
Baxter Road Alternative Access

On October 4th, the Select Board will review the 60% design for Baxter Road Alternative Access. This is a plan for access for the properties north of Bayberry Lane. These properties are at risk of losing access and utilities if Baxter Road were to breach or become unstable. The current design has a set of access tracks that lead to Sankaty Road. Utilities such as sewer and water will be in the same track corridors. Sewer and water will go south on Sankaty Road along the bike path and reconnect to Baxter Road via Bayberry Lane. Baxter Road has some protections, however there are large areas that have no protections from erosion and could breach in a future storm or slippage event. This is a form of retreat planning to increase longevity of access to this historic area, maintain the usability of the properties, and allow access to Sankaty Head Lighthouse and stunning seascapes.

Baxter Road Alternative Access Plans.
Focus on Public Safety

The Public Safety departments are committed to protecting the lives and property of the residents and visitors of the Town of Nantucket and to serving all people within with respect, fairness, and compassion. The Town continues to deliver its commitment by investing in personnel and equipment.

The Police Chief search, which has been ongoing since March, 2023, is approaching its final phase. Later this month, and along with our search consultants, we will be conducting the final assessments before selecting a finalist. This last step involves bringing three finalists to the island for an “Assessment Center”. The Assessment Center process is standard in public safety recruitment and evaluates the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities in hypothetical real-life situations. After that evaluation we hope to be in a position to choose our next police chief. For more information on the search, click here.

Concurrently, we have begun a search for an interim Deputy Fire Chief and are preparing to advertise two permanent Deputy Fire Chief positions. The Interim Deputy Fire Chief will, in the absence of the Fire Chief, be responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, controlling and staffing of all activities within the department. The two permanent roles will fill differing departmental needs. One Deputy role will be responsible for Operations. The other, which is a new investment in the department, will be responsible for training and administration.

In the coming days, the Town website will add a page dedicated to outlining the search process, providing updates on progress and highlighting important upcoming activities in the search process. Please visit the Fire Department page for further updates.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

National Hispanic American Heritage Month

Hispanic American Heritage Month acknowledges “the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America." The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15th and ending on October 15th. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

Source: National Hispanic Heritage Month

This year, we invite you to learn about 10 Latinas and their imprints on the United States:

Nantucket Latinas of Note:

Energy & Historic Preservation

Offshore Wind Development

On September 16th, Cultural Heritage Partners, the special legal counsel to the town of Nantucket for offshore wind regulatory compliance, released an editorial outlining the Town’s position on offshore wind development, asserting how communities should not have to sacrifice their historic character (and associated economies) for the sake of reducing dependence on fossil fuels. To learn more, read "Balancing Wind Energy and Cultural Preservation" or visit the Offshore Wind Work Group webpage.

Nantucket residents are encouraged to express their views directly to BOEM, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and Massachusetts Historical Commission, as well as to national and state environmental organizations that have so far declined to participate in environmental review to encourage them to reconsider their positions on offshore wind projects that pose adverse impacts to the environment and cultural heritage of local communities. Click HERE for a full list of contacts.

Fire Department News

This Sunday, October 1st - Community Wildfire Awareness Day!

Join us this Sunday, October 1st, for the Community Wildfire Awareness Day at Tom Nevers Park. You'll have the opportunity to learn about wildfire preparedness, see wildland fire trucks, heavy brush moving equipment, MA State Police helicopters, and a water drop demonstration. Plus, don't forget to grab a photo op with special guest, Smokey Bear!

New Vehicles for Emergency Response

The Fire Department recently acquired three new vehicles (ambulance, pickup truck, UTV) to be used for emergency service response. The ambulance is equipped with all of the latest safety equipment and will be used as an Advanced Life Support vehicle. The pickup truck will be used for emergency calls, and in situations of inclement weather, will plow the way for ambulances. The UTV is a small “All-Terrain Vehicle” that will be used to assist on emergency calls on the beach and in the areas of the island that are not accessible to standard emergency vehicles.

Health & Human Services Department

Recent increase in COVID-19 cases on Nantucket

Cases of COVID-19 are rapidly increasing, as evidenced by the concentration of viral particles in our wastewater. The Nantucket Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind our community that wearing a high-quality mask while indoors, in public, and practicing good hand hygiene after contact with high touch areas (including public gathering places, the restroom, and prior to eating meals) can help reduce rates of exposure. If you are feeling any symptoms, please remain at home until your symptoms subside.

Town of Nantucket upcoming COVID Vaccination Clinics:

  • October 14
  • October 21
  • November 18

Location: Elementary School Cafeteria on Backus Road

These clinics will feature Moderna and Pfizer vaccines of the new formulation, and the CDC advises that all individuals should get a single dose. This marks the transition to seasonal COVID-19 vaccines, similar to flu vaccines.

Memory Café

Memory Café, a new program for individuals with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's, and related dementias, will begin on October 10th. It's intended for both those experiencing memory loss and their caregivers, and it will be held every second Tuesday of the month at Sherburne Commons from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM.

The cafe is funded by a Human Services grant through the Town’s Contract Review Committee.

Human Resources

  • Fire Department - Juventino Rojas and Raymond McClure joined the Fire Department this past September as fulltime firefighters. Welcome, Juventino and Raymond!
  • Our Island Home - Hedy Stottler and Gayedian Brown joined Our Island Home in September. Hedy is the new cook and Gayedian started working as per diem housekeeper/laundry. Welcome, Hedy and Gayedian!
  • PLUS - Nickesha Sheriff transferred from admin specialist to Land Use specialist within the PLUS Department. Good luck in your new role, Nickesha!
  • Public Works - Timothy Bulmer is a new laborer at DPW Facilities. Welcome, Tim!

Natural Resources

Download the MyCoast app today and start documenting our changing coast!
  • In the throes of Hurricane Lee, Coastal Resilience Coordinator Leah Hill and Sustainability Programs Manager Vince Murphy, drove around the island documenting storm impacts. Fortunately, no major impacts were seen. These staff members are part of the Massachusetts Coastal Storm Team which is run by the State’s Coastal Zone Management. This team gets activated when the National Weather Service issues a storm warning with flooding and storm surge likely. The team uses the MyCoast app to document damages in towns via reports that include pictures which are sent to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The reports are stored in a database that can be accessed by the public.
  • Friendly reminder: The Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 10am-12pm via Zoom. Come attend a meeting and offer public comment! The committee recently developed recommendations for an early concept called coastal resilience districts, which will be presented to the Select Board at its October 4th meeting. These districts would help educate homeowners within the designated areas of their coastal risks (like erosion or flooding) as well as help pay for projects within the Town’s Coastal Resilience Plan, through potential tax special assessments.
  • Did you know that September is Climate Change Awareness month on Nantucket? For the 4th consecutive year, the Select Board endorsed the Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee and ACKlimate's proclamation for Climate Change Awareness Month at its September 6th meeting. In early September the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and Linda Loring Nature Foundation held an excellent Climate Change Summit. There were over 100 people in attendance and Leah Hill was asked to create an informational poster. The poster highlighted the Sesachacha Pond Ecological Enhancement and Resilience Strategies project of which she is the project manager. The project was made possible thanks to a collaboration with Mass Audubon. The project will include a nearshore oyster reef to help attenuate wave energy and act as oyster habitat for the natural in-pond oyster population. A later phase of the project will include work on land to help protect Polpis Road.

Information & Technology

Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to highlight some of the emerging challenges that exist in the world of cybersecurity today and provide straightforward actionable guidance that anyone can follow to create a safe and secure digital world for themselves and their loved ones. Starting this year, the new theme of Cybersecurity Awareness Month is Secure Our World, with the main messaging revolving around four key cybersecurity best practices:

  1. Understanding the benefits of using a password manager and dispelling existing myths around password manager security and ease of use.
  2. Turning on multifactor authentication on personal devices and business networks.
  3. Recognizing and reporting phishing – still one of the primary threat actions used by cybercriminals today.
  4. Installing updates on a regular basis and turning on automated updates.

The Town is proud to support this far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative which is co-managed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

Our Island Home

Looking to make a difference in a resident's life? Become a volunteer for Our Island Home, Nantucket's nursing facility! Volunteer duties include assisting with: daily activities, special events, 1 on 1 games, companionship and more. To volunteer, email OIH's Activity Director Olivia McLean, omclean@nantucket-ma.gov.

Public Works

Latex Paint Collection Event on October 21
  • Accepting: Latex, acrylic, or water-based paint. Paint must be in liquid form and in its original, labeled container.
  • Not accepting: Dried paint, frozen paint, bulked paint (consolidated from multiple containers), paint containers smaller than 1 qt., paint that is 10+ years old. For more information, visit www.nantucket-ma.gov/paint.

Sewer Projects

Sea Street Sewer Force Main No. 3

The second year of construction for the Sea Street Pump Station Force Main No. 3 project began on September 11, 2023. The contractor, Robert B. Our, resumed work on Surfside Road near its intersection with Tashama Lane. During the month of September, RBO completed sewer force main installation on Surfside Road between Tashama Lane and 1st Way. Next, the crew will progress the installation of the force main down Surfside Road towards the 4-way intersection at Atlantic Avenue.

What to know:

  • Hours of work: 4:00 PM – 3:00 AM
  • Traffic disruption: traffic detour in place between Bartlett Road and Vesper Lane. Temporary paving of Surfside Road is conducted on a weekly basis every Friday.
  • Timeline: It is estimated that this portion of the work will be completed by Thanksgiving week. Once complete, the same crew will resume work in the downtown area on Lily Street.

Saltmarsh Senior Center

  • Medicare open enrollment: October 15 – December 7. State certified SHINE (Serving the Health Care Needs of Everyone) counselors are available at the Saltmarsh, via Zoom, by appointment, to help you understand health care coverage, review cost increases, and find out what’s new with Medicare.
  • Hearing tests: Available at the Saltmarsh twice a month. Call 508-228-4490 to make an appointment.
  • Cooking with Alice from Health Imperatives: Just like a cooking show, where you receive the recipes she makes and samples of what she made during class. Always a big hit!
  • Memory Café: Begins Tuesday, October 10 and will continue every 2nd Tuesday of the month.
  • Nantucket Historical Association Celebration of the 100th Acquisition Anniversary of the Oldest House: Tuesday, October 10 at 1:30 PM.
  • Saltmarsh Senior Center: Come and take advantage of free exercise programs in the mornings! You don’t need to register in advance, just show up and fill out a membership form to participate. There are lots of games in the afternoon to keep your mind working while enjoying the company and laughter of others. Again, no reason to register for the games just show up.

Visitor Services

Another great summer season in the books! Our Visitor Services Aids were on a roll this season, answering all the usual visitor questions with enthusiasm. But they also tackled some zany, unexpected ones like:

  1. Where can I rent a clam rake?
  2. Is there an Amtrak stop for Nantucket?
  3. Where can I find a cattle farm?
  4. Is there a guestbook I can sign?
  5. Is there a lake for swimming on Nantucket?
Thank you for reading the Town of Nantucket September 2023 News!
Town of Nantucket - 16 Broad Street Nantucket, MA 02554

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