Tisbury voters agreed to back a $990,000 upgrade to their sewage treatment plant at the annual town meeting which began Tuesday, and goes to a second session tonight.
The meeting reconvenes at 7 p.m. in the Tisbury School gymnasium.
Voters spent a little more than two hours tackling a 21-article special town meeting warrant and made it through nine of the 35 articles on the annual warrant.
The big item for discussion centered on safeguarding water quality in Lagoon Pond and Lake Tashmoo with the design and construction of a new wastewater treatment facility. The money for the project will come from borrowing against existing revenues from the wastewater plant, and does not come out of the tax base, department of public works director Fred LaPiana said.
Consultants from Wright-Pierce, the group that developed the wastewater proposal, were on hand to answer questions from voters, which ranged from concerns about nitrogen in the harbor to potential groundwater contaminations.
“In the universal scope of things we have to discharge this water somewhere,” selectman Tristan Israel said. “. . . It’s the lesser of choices [harbor, Lake Tashmoo, Lagoon Pond], and the harbor flushes, and the water is treated.
“It’s not the perfect panacea but . . . I do believe that it’s the best option I’ve seen for our town.”
The measure was overwhelmingly approved by a voice vote.
In a second wastewater article, voters also approved a measure to fund consulting for phase two of the wastewater plant expansion.
They appropriated $135,000 for a newly-created stabilization fund for the fire department and EMS department. The fund itself had been approved just a half-hour before, during the special town meeting.
On the special warrant, an article which would impose a temporary moratorium on the construction of medical marijuana dispensaries received the most discussion. In the end the article failed to obtain the two-thirds vote needed to pass (the count was 123-64).
By contrast, a second article relating to marijuana, a public consumption bylaw, passed with no discussion and only a smattering of no votes.
Among other articles on the special warrant, voters agreed to increase the excise tax on hotels and lodging, impose a 0.75 per cent tax on restaurant meals, and establish three new department of public works positions. The meeting also approved a new bylaw relating to loose farm animals and a master plan for proposed modifications to the harborfront on Beach Road.