West Tisbury will allow the sale of beer and wine in restaurants for the first time in modern history, Oak Bluffs saw a vote of confidence in town government, with two incumbent selectmen reelected, and spending was approved for two major public library construction projects, one in West Tisbury, the other in Edgartown.
And public opinion is running strongly against the roundabout in at least two towns.
These were the highlights of the annual town elections held yesterday in three Island towns.
The quiet but pivotal ballot issue in this election year was the beer and wine question in West Tisbury, which was easily approved, 499-202. The vote now clears the way for the West Tisbury selectmen to license the sale of beer and wine in restaurants with 50 seats or more for the coming summer.
“We’re thrilled — thank you West Tisbury,” said a jubilant Mary Kenworth, co-owner of State Road restaurant who helped lead the petition drive to put the question on the ballot. The Lambert’s Cove Inn and the Plane View are also affected. It was burger night at State Road on Thursday and when the election results came in there was a crowd at the restaurant. “There are many well-wishers here,” Mrs. Kenworth said.
West Tisbury voters also threw their support behind a $1.5 million override to Proposition 2 1/2 override for construction funding for a new $ 6 million library project. The vote was 556-138.
“I literally feel like we just reached the top of Mount Everest, it is really that kind of thrilling,” said library trustee Dan Waters. “West Tisbury might be a little farm town, but once in a while we rise to some big, defining labor of love as a community. We did this a few years ago with the new ag hall and this time with building a library, and if you think about it those are both gathering places. These are our defining moments as a town.”
Selectman Cynthia Mitchell agreed. “The clear winner tonight and the reason voters came to the polls was due to the great work at the library. The library should take great pride in what they’ve done,” she said.
Edgartown voters, too, backed a $4.9 million spending override for a new library, still in the early stages of planning, 480 to 206. “I’m just so proud of Edgartown — what a great gift for the town to give to itself, for our kids, our seniors and also for our future,” said Chris Scott, a former member of the library building committee.
And Oak Bluffs voters reelected Gregory A. Coogan and Kathleen A. Burton as selectmen.
Ms. Burton had 611 votes, while Mr. Coogan received 580. Challenger Roger Wey, a former seven-term selectman, trailed with 371 votes.
Mr. Coogan and Ms. Burton exchanged a hug after the results were read at the Oak Bluffs library. “I am very excited that the voters have sent Greg and I to finish the work that we’ve started,” Ms. Burton said. “I’m looking very much forward to it.”
“I think both Kathy and my re-election says to us that we’re going in the right direction and that the town is happy with what’s been going on,” Mr. Coogan said. “It reaffirms for us that we’ve taken the right course,” he added. This will be Mr. Coogan’s fourth term, and Ms. Burton’s second.
“I congratulate both of them,” Mr. Wey said. “They both did a good job, they work very hard, and the people have spoken.”
Voter turnout was light in all three towns on a chilly April day that had rain in the forecast but mostly saw sunshine breaking through gray clouds. Bundled up against the cool weather, supporters for the various causes and candidates stood outside the polls holding signs in the three towns.
In West Tisbury a spending override for road repaving passed 458 to 228, and a nonbinding question about the roundabout that will appear on five town ballots this spring was trounced 505 to 175. “Wonderful, delighted, I couldn’t be happier,” said West Tisbury selectman Richard Knabel, a vocal opponent of the roundabout, after the results were in.
Edgartown felt just as strongly, voting 508 to 171 against it.
In Edgartown, Megan E. Anderson was elected to a seat on the school committee with 415 votes. She defeated Carlene J. Gatting (154), and Alexander K. Rentumis (45) for a seat left vacant by Leslie Baynes, who decided not to run for reelection.
In a three-way race for library trustees, Denise Searle and Carl E. Watt were elected (511 and 372) over Alexander K. Rentumis (188).
Financial advisory committee incumbents Morton Fearey Jr. and Barbara G. Shriber were reelected (435 and 432), while incumbent Thomas Durawa was edged out by Alexander K. Rentumis, 319 to 261.
Arthur Smadbeck was reelected selectman with 559 votes.
Also elected without contest were: Laurence A. Mercier, board of assessors, 587; Kevin Searle, board of health, 605; Scott Ellis, constable, 601; Herbert L. Foster, library trustee, 496; Julie L. Lively, library trustee, 495; Alan Wilson, planning board, 501; Wanda M. Williams, town clerk, 635 (top vote-getter); Melissa Kuehne, town collector, 594; and Timothy K. Connelly, wastewater treatment commission, 477.
James Kelleher was elected water commissioner (153 write-in votes), and Joel Graves was elected to the town park commission as a write-in with 59 votes.
A total of 706 voters cast ballots, in Edgartown, 22 per cent.
In West Tisbury Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd was reelected selectman with 568 votes and no challenger. Also elected without contest were: F. Patrick Gregory, moderator, 621; Timothy A. Barnett, board of health, 585; Michael Colaneri, board of assessors, 533; Katherine Logue, treasurer, 600; Brent B. Taylor, tax collector, 596; Tara J. Whiting, town clerk, 638 (top vote-getter); Jeremiah Armstrong Brown, tree warden, 575; Harvey W. Garneau Jr., library trustee, 550; Melissa McKee Hackney, library trustee, 570; Gregory Orcutt, finance committee, 555; Matthew Merry, planning board, 588; Beatrice Phear, planning board, 528; Timothy A. Barnett, constable, 558; Lisa Amols, park and recreation committee, 544.
Turnout in West Tisbury was 714 out of 2313 registered, 31 per cent.
Elected without contest in Oak Bluffs were: Jesse B. Law 3rd, moderator, 692 (top vote-getter); William A. White, board of health, 652; Jesse B. Law 3rd, cemetery commission, 660; Allan A. deBettencourt, park commission, 640; Kris W. Chvatal, planning board, 567; Kristine A. O’Brien, school committee, 597; Steven Auerbach, finance and advisory committee, 568; John M. Boardman, finance and advisory committee, 519; Raymond Taylor, finance and advisory committee, 502; Joseph M. deBettencourt, tree warden, 658; Hans von Steiger, wastewater commission, 533; George M. Warren, constable, 593; and Kevin H. Johnson, water district commission, 641.
In Oak Bluffs 891 of 3,245 voters turned out, about 27 per cent.