Edgartown and Oak Bluffs wrapped up their annual town meetings in a single night Tuesday, sometimes agreeable about spending and sometimes not. Meanwhile, voters in Tisbury and West Tisbury will return for a second night Wednesday to finish their annual town business.

By long tradition, four town meetings were held on the same night.

Moment of silence for all residents who have died, including Pat Gregory, at outset of town meeting in West Tisbury. — Peter Simon

In West Tisbury the meeting opened with a tribute to the late moderator Pat Gregory. “Pat stood for a lot of things — kindness, fairness, grace under pressure,” said moderator Dan Waters. He urged townspeople to consider necessary changes in a way that would have made Pat proud. Voters began the meeting by approving a plan to name a room at the town library after Mr. Gregory, and outgoing poet laureate Justen Ahren read a sonnet written for the late moderator.

A large turnout of 281 voters approved a $16.9 million operating budget after first accepting a $68,000 reduction in the up-Island School portion of the budget. The much-discussed Islandwide initiative to buy the old VNA building to house the Center for Living won approval in West Tisbury, 130 to 125. “Here is a program that needs to serve the fastest growing portion of the Island,” said selectman Richard Knabel.

Voters were not so agreeable on other spending initiatives, among other things nixing the town’s share of an Islandwide plan to build new headquarters for the Vineyard schools superintendent.

West Tisbury also could not get to the finish line, and with six articles to go and the hour nearing 11 p.m. the meeting was adjourned to a second night. The meeting reconvenes Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the school gymnasium.

Tisbury also reconvenes its meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m., also in the school gym. Guided by moderator Deborah Medders, voters in the Island’s main port town finished a special town meeting warrant but got through just three articles on the annual town meeting warrant. On Wednesday there will be 35 more including a $24.3 million operating budget.

Tisbury agreed the town DPW should be changed and come under the control of the selectmen. — Steve Myrick

In the main discussion of the evening Tuesday, voters agreed 124 to 67 to take the first steps to restructure the town department of public works (DPW) by bringing it under the control of the selectmen. “Many people are surprised that they are independent, and not answerable to the board of selectmen,” said town administrator John (Jay) Grande in a presentation. “The way we’re structured really is an obstacle to strategic thinking.”

But Harriet Barrow spoke against the measure. “The idea of stripping these commissioners of any kind of influence or involvement seems to be cutting them off at the knees,” she said. Abolishing the DPW will require a special act of the state legislature and is expected to take a year and a half to complete.

In Oak Bluffs 227 voters checked in and took up their first order of business for the night: appointing a moderator from the town meeting floor to stand in for Jack Law who is away. Former longtime moderator Duncan Ross unanimously got the job. Voters dispatched with a special town meeting warrant and then approved a $26.5 million operating budget. Other articles touched on a variety of issues ranging from infrastructure to estuaries to elder services.

There was heated discussion over whether town clerk Laura Johnston should get a four per cent raise, bringing her salary to just over $81,000. Voters narrowly approved, 82-77. A $910,000 package of Community Preservation Act projects also was approved, and after much back and forth discussion voters agreed to buy in to the Center for Living building project.

Voters also threw their support behind two projects to improve the health of town estuaries, approving a new watershed planning district for Lagoon Pond, where an excess of nitrogen is polluting the natural habitat. In another pair of articles, they backed the expenditure of $500,000 for a project to widen an existing culvert at Farm Pond. The town is pursuing a federal grant to finance the work, which requires a 35 per cent local match.

Throughout the evening, Mr. Ross the temporary moderator kept the mood light, cracking the occasional joke. As the night wore on, attendance dwindled and voters began glancing at their watches and fidgeting in their seats. But when voters were given the option of reconvening the meeting another night, they declined the offer.

Edgartown bogged down early on budget amendment over police hiring. — Maria Thibodeau

In Edgartown it was an up-and-down night for spending. Voters agreed to pay their share too for the Center for Living building and also to fund paving Meetinghouse Way at a cost of $775,000. The paving project also needs to pass during the town election Thursday. But voters balked at buying the Main street Mini Park for $2.1 million.

About 246 voters filled the pews of the Old Whaling Church. Early on the meeting hit a stumbling block during discussion of the $32 million operating budget. Peter Look made a motion to create a committee to appoint a new town police chief. “The process is wrong, it desperately needs the light of day,” Mr. Look said. The town has appointed labor attorney John (Jack) Collins to serve as interim chief and help the town in the search for a new chief to replace Antone Bettencourt who recently retired.

Mr. Look also successfully moved to have the vote conducted by Australian ballot, and the meeting paused for more than half an hour while voters filed to the front of the church to cast paper ballots. The amendment failed.

Murmurs went around the room that with 76 articles on the warrant the meeting might go to a second night. But longtime town moderator Philip J. Norton kept the meeting moving along at a fast clip and voters breezed through the next 48 articles in about an hour, easily approving nearly all.

In the last few minutes of the meeting, they voted against buying or taking the Mini Park by eminent domain.

Benjamin Hall Jr., whose family owns property, said they were against selling and warned that the purchase price would likely be higher than $2.1 million.

Some voters questioned why the town wanted to buy the park instead of continuing to lease it from the Halls, which has been done for more than 35 years. Selectman Margaret Serpa said the conservation commission had recommended the purchase to the town community preservation committee, which overwhelmingly approved.

“But why?” Katrina Nevin asked. In the end the article failed 108-66.

The meeting concluded by 10:30 p.m. “Don’t forget to pay your taxes and vote on Thursday,” Mr. Norton said to the departing crowd.

Sara Brown, Olivia Hull, Alex Elvin, Steve Myrick and Jane Seagrave contributed.