It took some work to get a quorum, but once that was done Aquinnah voters swiftly approved a series of articles at a special town meeting Tuesday night, including for new affordable housing sites and a delinquent property tax amnesty program.

When not enough people turned up, a small assembly of voters took out phone books and dialed people they knew to convince them to come out to the meeting. About 45 minutes later, applause broke out as the last voter needed entered the old town hall.

“We barely have a quorum, please nobody leave,” said moderator Michael Hebert. “I’ll try and make this quick.” There were nine articles on the warrant.

Voters unanimously agreed to spend $240,000 to buy 6.3 acres on State Road for affordable housing. The money will be borrowed using a bond issue; the cost of the borrowing will be paid from Community Preservation Act funds.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property,” housing committee member Derrill Bazzy said. “The family is being very generous with offering a discounted sale.”

Voters also agreed without dissent to the transfer of a one-acre parcel of land at 20 State Road to the Island Housing Trust for $20,000. Formerly owned by June Noble, the property is now the site of an affordable home which will be awarded in a lottery on Feb. 2.

There was lengthy discussion over a request for $4,000 from the cable advisory board for the town’s share of legal fees as negotiations are under way for a new 10-year contract with Comcast. The contract is due to be complete by June 11, 2011, but Aquinnah cable committee representative Richard Skidmore said an extension may be necessary, which may in turn lead to the need for even more money for legal fees.

“One of the issues that I’m bringing to the table is the fact that we haven’t had the type of buildout we thought,” Mr. Skidmore said, noting that some areas of Aquinnah still do not have cable service. “It’s an inequitable situation. They’re obligated to serve the community,” he said.

The article passed with one nay vote.

Delinquent Aquinnah taxpayers will now have an incentive to come forward and pay their property tax bills after voters approved a state-sanctioned measure to waive 75 per cent of interest and penalty fees for delinquent taxes going back to 2006. The state legislature approved a bill last summer clearing the way for the amnesty program.

“We thought it was only fair to give people the option,” town tax collector Wenonah Madison said. “We’re not going to lose a big amount of money by doing this, [especially since] right now these bills are not being paid at all.” She said the town has about $200,000 in unpaid taxes per year going back to 2006.

Voters also agreed to pay $3,164 for extra payment as the town’s share of the Tri-Town Ambulance service. The ambulance service went over budget last year due to the need to contract with Oak Bluffs for paramedic service.

Two workman’s compensation articles were approved to pay $10,200 in disability fees to a volunteer firefighter who was injured while fighting the July 12 Menemsha fire. An additional $5,100 will replenish the reserve fund for monies already spent.

Voters also approved $2,600 for an unexpected fire truck repair and $7,000 for a new generator at the town hall.