august in Town From the Desk of Town Manager Libby Gibson

What's up in Town Administration

In my early years with the Town, summer was somewhat slower with respect to municipal activity – Town Meeting was over, budgets were adopted, departments were focused on summer events and activities. Those days are definitively in the past.

As August winds down, we are continuing to follow up on 2023 Annual Town Meeting actions, beginning to prepare for the next fiscal year’s (FY 2025) budget development, including review of FY 25 capital project requests, and preparing for the 2024 Annual Town Meeting. A fair amount of time has been spent in July and August working on the warrant for the November 7, 2023 Special Town Meeting – the primary purpose of which is the regulation of short-term rentals. We are spending a great deal of time on town employee housing, compensation, recruitment and retention and morale issues. In discussions with municipal officials in other towns, we are finding many towns are focused on similar employee issues.

We are working to develop the Town’s Sustainability programs, the Board’s Strategic Plan, long-term solid waste disposal planning, planning and execution of large municipal projects, including a new Our Island Home facility, a new DPW facility, a water main extension and transportation improvement project in the Surfside area, and alternative access for Baxter Road to name a few. We are faced with new environmental issues, most notably PFAS-related but also challenges involving climate change and sea level rise and how those growing concerns impact Town infrastructure.

November 7, 2023 Special Town Meeting

At the Select Board’s August 16th meeting, the warrant for the Special Town Meeting was adopted, subject to the Board’s additional review of some wording revisions that were to be finalized by Town Counsel. The Select Board met again on August 23rd to discuss the wording revisions and voted to adopt the warrant as revised.

Select Board Annual Governance Meeting

On August 2nd the Board completed its annual governance meeting in a workshop setting, in person. For the last several years, following the annual election, the Board has held a facilitated session to discuss topics specific to how it communicates with each other, the community or Town staff. It often focuses on its Strategic Plan or other very current issues, including its priorities for the next year.

Brant Point Association Annual Meeting

The BPA's annual meeting was held at the Nantucket Hotel on August 5th. I provided the group with an update on Town activities; Sustainability Program Manager Vincent Murphy spoke on the Town’s Coastal Resilience Plan and Sewer Director David Gray spoke on stormwater projects.

Keeping Nantucket Clean

Last summer, we collaborated with Josh Malitsky, who organized a team of young adults from the Riverview School to beautify our island and help pick up trash. Colin Ledoux, Asher Malitsky, and Jamie Meisner became our Community Clean-up Crew. They worked extremely hard to clean up beaches, parks and recreational areas, cemeteries, and bike paths.

This year, through a grant from the Town and collaboration with the Nantucket Land Bank and Nantucket Land Council, a coordinator was hired and based out of the Land Bank. The coordinator serves as lead supervisor identifying work projects, organizing work schedules, and communicating with families and agency liaisons. Young adults again helped out with clean ups across the island and added a new service – document shredding – to the tasks they can complete. The group, known as IWON (Inclusive Work Opportunities Nantucket) is in the process of becoming a 501 c 3.

Speaking of keeping Nantucket clean, in theory, it couldn’t be easier -- if everyone cleaned up after themselves. Unfortunately, the willful neglect of those with unsecured loads and/or who just simply, litter, makes our Island less beautiful. Pick up your trash and secure your loads! That goes for businesses as well as individuals.

Gas-powered Leaf Blowers

We have received several inquiries over the summer about these. Gas-powered leaf blowers can produce high levels of noise that disrupt the tranquility of neighborhoods, disturb residents, and even have negative effects on wildlife.

The use of gas-powered leaf blowers by any commercial landscaper, commercial landscape company, or other entity engaged in the business of providing home and yard repair, cleanup, and maintenance services for a fee is prohibited island-wide. Chapter 101 2A of the Town Code is subject to enforcement by those authorized to enforce. And, while the bylaw as approved by Nantucket voters is specific to commercial landscapers only, we are pleased to announce that the Town’s DPW has purchased battery-powered leaf blowers and is starting to utilize the new equipment when applicable.

Police Chief Search

The search for our next Police Chief is progressing according to the original timeline. Written essays and oral interviews have already been conducted and evaluated. Through that process, the Town Search Committee has narrowed the field of roughly 40 candidates down to 5 finalists. Those finalists will attend an Assessment Center in September. Click here for more details.

Town-wide Staffing

A comprehensive staffing study from 2018 indicates significant progress with regard to staffing for Town operations across-the-board. While a recent comment in a report about a cancer action plan for the Fire Department indicated that Fire Department staffing is “dangerously low”, that assertion is not supported with the data analysis that was included in the report referenced above. Currently, staffing levels meet the recommendations of the 2018 report, with each of the four firefighter shifts budgeted for one (1) Captain, one (1) Lieutenant, and six (6) firefighters. This equals a total of eight (8) firefighters per shift. The department is currently seeking to replace the recently vacated Deputy Chief position and hire a new, second Deputy Chief. The Deputy Chiefs will hold the following responsibilities: Deputy Chief of Training and Administration, and Deputy Chief of Operations. The new roles of the Deputy Chiefs are also in line with the recommendations outlined in the 2018 staffing report.

On September 28, 2023, two of the Fire Department’s newest recruits, Joshua Sibley-Liddle and Raymond DeCosta will join Class #316 at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s fifty-day Career Recruit Firefighter Training Program at the Stowe Campus of the MA Department of Fire Services.

The Town is working on several recruitment and retention strategies, including compensation, housing, training opportunities, communications and employee recognition.

Response to Inquirer and Mirror Editorial on August 17, 2023 - In response to an Inquirer and Mirror editorial that ran on August 17, 2023, on August 29th, we submitted this letter to the editor.

Personnel Departures

School Facilities Director Diane O’Neil

Diane O'Neil

Diane O’Neil retired this month with 18 years of service to the Town. She worked in Airport Administration before joining Town Administration as Coordinator for projects and procurement. Diane was instrumental in helping to facilitate a variety of transportation and building projects. Diane’s tenure at the School Department included managing many aspects of constructing the Intermediate School, and numerous facility improvements to the Elementary, Middle and High Schools. Diane’s friendly, helpful and positive outlook have always stood out – she will be missed. We wish her all the best in her new adventures! Thank you, Diane!

Deputy Fire Chief Sean Mitchell

Sean took a new job in central Massachusetts this month. We thank him for 16 years of service to the Town and wish him and his family all the best. Thank you!

Sean Mitchell

Summer Staff

THANK YOU to all of our Lifeguards, Dock and Marine Department staff, Community Service Officers, Visitor Services information staff, Public Works seasonal workers and intern, Natural Resources and Health Department interns and employees – all of you have contributed to keeping our town running during our busiest season; or have helped with important projects. Interactions with the public can sometimes be quite challenging (and, also rewarding!) and we appreciate all of you!

  • The Town of Nantucket offices & Landfill will be closed on Monday, September 4 in observance of Labor Day.
  • As we approach the start of the School year, please be mindful of students walking, biking, scootering, to and from school and to after school activities.
  • The sewer force main project will be starting up again on Surfside Road in the Tashama – 4 corners corridor the week of September 11th. While the work will be taking place at night, there will be detours and the need for patience and caution as this project continues. Read the Sewer Department section of this newsletter for additional information.

Energy Office

Town Powers Up First Municipal Solar Project at the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Town of Nantucket’s first solar photovoltaic (PV) system is now energized and producing clean power at the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Plant, the island’s second largest consumer of electricity (the compost digester at the Landfill is the largest consumer of electricity on island). Residents and visitors were invited to tour the Facility and learn about the new system on August 10th, following a celebratory “switching-on” event with local and state officials.

The rooftop solar array, which consists of 232 solar panels, will generate enough clean power to offset 6-8% of the facility’s onsite load and save the Town more than $35,000 annually. Additionally, the project will offset 106 metric tons of local greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Town and State officials, and community members at the celebratory “switching-on” event at the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Facility on August 10th, 2023.
Mass Save Returns To Nantucket: September 18-22, 2023!

Take advantage of a no-cost Mass Save home energy assessment to receive free energy-saving devices and a customized list of recommendations to improve your home's comfort and efficiency all year long. During a home energy assessment, an energy specialist will assess your current energy use, help you develop a plan to make your home more energy efficient, and educate you on eligible rebates and incentives. New incentives for 2023 include increased incentives for airsource “minisplit” heatpumps and weatherization for rental homes. To schedule your appointment, please visit: ngrid.com/nantucket or call 1-844-615-8316.

Questions? Please contact Lauren Sinatra, Town Energy Coordinator at LSinatra@nantucket-ma.gov or 508-325-5379.

Initial scoping comments submitted in response to Beacon Wind

On July 31, 2023, the Town's special legal counsel, Cultural Heritage Partners, submitted initial scoping comments on behalf of the Town of Nantucket in response to BOEM’s Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Beacon Wind Project. Beacon Wind is an offshore wind development planned for an area of 128,000 acres in federal waters approximately 20 miles south of Nantucket. Click to read the Town's initial scoping comments identifying issues for BOEM to consider as it prepares the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Finance Department

The Town and County of Nantucket has partnered with OpenGov and is excited to announce our transition from a paper-based bid solicitation process to a fully automated, web-based electronic bidding and vendor management system. Visit our procurement page to learn more.

Health & Human Services Department

Youth Behavioral Health Grant

The Town of Nantucket and the Contract Review Committee are proud to announce the release of the Request for Proposals for the Youth Behavioral Health Grant.

This grant constitutes a one-time allocation of $175,000, disbursed outside of the normal Town budgetary cycle. Funds will be available for invoicing following the announcement of awards, scheduled for September. This grant will provide behavioral health-related services to Nantucket residents aged between 0 and 25 years old, while also offering support to parents and other individuals working with youth.

Public Health Research Survey

The Town of Nantucket’s Health & Human Services Department and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health are asking for your participation in a research survey. The study aims to better understand how people react to public health advice. The results will be used to improve the public health department's reaction to emergencies in the future. The survey is completely anonymous and should only take 10-5 minutes to complete.

International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day, which marks the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died from overdose, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

There are several resources available on Nantucket if you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder. Click here to learn more.

Human Resources


  • Ivelina Nakova transferred from Solid Waste Billing Clerk to Assistant Treasurer. Congratulations, Ivelina!

Health & Human Services Department

  • Tomeka Gary transferred from Administrative Clerk at the DPW to Office Manager at Health & Human Services. Good luck in your new role, Tomeka!

Our Island Home

  • Sophia Lyttle-Liburd transferred from her CNA/RNA to an Administrative Assistant position. Good luck in your new role, Sophia!


  • The Police Department hired three student officers in August: Matthew Drumheller, Jonathan Santoro, and Gwendolyn Nelson. Once graduated, they will become full-time NPD OfficersWelcome to the team!

Public Works

  • Clive Clarke and Daveton Brown moved from Laborer positions to Maintenance Technician positions in Facilities. Good luck in your new roles!
  • Liela Marrett received her certificate of internship completion. Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Liela!


  • David Richards transferred from Senior Sewer Operator to Assistant Chief Waste Water Operator. Good luck in your new role, David!

Natural Resources

Coastal Resilience on Nantucket
  • On May 9, 2023, members from the Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee visited Sconset from Codfish Park to almost Sankaty Lighthouse to get a ground level view of the physical geography of Sconset Bluff. They learned about different landscape, erosion management efforts, which forces (wind, water, waves, runoff etc.) are significant threats at various locations, and if the beach is accreting (growing) or eroding at various projects. This trip allowed members to develop recommendations to the Select Board for the best next steps regarding Sconset Bluff.
  • Did you know that FEMA developed potential extent of erosion maps for Nantucket which were the first in the country? It uses NOAA’s High Sea Level Rise Scenario and projects potential erosion for 2030, 2050, and 2100. These are not regulatory maps, but are for use as guidance for planning purposes. They can be accessed here.
  • The Town’s Coastal Monitoring Project was a recommendation from the Town’s Coastal Resilience Plan and monitors erosion at many sites around the island. Measurements are typically taken during the winter months, when erosion is more prevalent. From this data managers can monitor localized erosion rates to make informed decisions. Some staggering numbers: one site in Madaket and one site at the Sewer Plant has each lost about 50 feet in the last 2 years.
  • Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Action Plan Update Survey - The Town of Nantucket is updating its 2009 Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Action Plan. The Plan presents the community’s vision for guiding public and private use of the land and water of its harbor areas and establishes an implementation program to fulfill the Plan's recommendations. The focus area for Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Plan Update is both Nantucket and Madaket harbors. The effort is led by the Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Action Plan Update Committee and assisted by the Urban Harbors Institute at UMass Boston and Woods Hole Group.
Nantucket Harbor.
Harmful Algal Blooms Summer Report

Several organizations on Nantucket share the responsibility of monitoring 16 Nantucket ponds for harmful algal blooms throughout our warmest months. These organizations collaborate so that monitoring and reporting can occur on a weekly basis in the summer time. Click HERE to read a summer report on HABs from NRD Water Quality Specialist Emma Morgan.

Miacomet Pond.
Protected Species

This month, NRD wrapped up Nantucket's protected species season after the last piping plover chicks fledged. The first nest was laid on April 14, just 4 days later than the earliest recorded piping plover nest. Did you know it takes a piping plover nest about 1 month to hatch, and another month for the parents to raise the chicks?

A piping plover nest at Low Beach. The speckles on the eggs not only help with camouflage from predators, but the melanin also strengthens the egg’s shell.

Our Island Home

Our Island Home is pleased to announce two new partners in their rehabilitation and dental services, Preferred Therapy Solutions and Polished Teeth. Learn more about these partnerships to improve the health of Our Island Home residents here.

Public Works

Downtown Streetlight Maintenance

During the month of August 2023, Public Works is addressing lighting issues in the downtown area and across the island. DPW crew members, working with Kobo, and National Grid are replacing and maintaining our decorative streetlights. Some of the work includes running new feed lines, swapping bulbs, and replacing units.

KOBO employees repairing a streetlight on Broad Street.
Latex Paint Collection Interest Form

The Town is looking to determine public interest for eco-friendly recycling of latex, acrylic, and similar water-based paint materials. Help us by completing a brief form; your participation is crucial for a successful event. The collection event will take place in October - date TBD.

Sewer Department

Sea Street Sewer Force Main No. 3 Project Update

The second year of construction for the Sea Street Pump Station Force Main No.3 project will begin on September 11, 2023.

Surfside Road: Work will continue with the installation of the 20-inch PVC sewer force main from the intersection of Tashama Lane and Surfside Road to beyond the 4-way intersection into Atlantic Avenue. The work will continue to be performed between 4:00 PM and 3:00 AM. Traffic signage and detours will be implemented during the work and the roads will reopen at the end of each working day.

Downtown Area: The crew will resume work on Lily Street after Thanksgiving. Work will inlcude the installation of a new gravity sewer, a new water main, and a 20-inch sewer force main starting at approximately house No. 22 Lily Street. All downtown work is scheduled to be completed during the day.


We asked and the community answered! The Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission (NP&EDC) closed the public review and approved the 2024 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for Nantucket. Please visit www.nantucket-ma.gov/lrtp to review the final plan, watch videos of the development process, and explore the Visioning and Prioritization survey results. Public participation tripled from the previous update in 2019 and shaped the Vision for what our transportation system should be in 2044. A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the development of this plan, because life is better when we all work and thrive together.

Thank you for reading the Town of Nantucket August 2023 News!
Town of Nantucket - 16 Broad Street Nantucket, MA 02554

Do you follow us on Social Media?