Edgartown voters gathered in the sun-drenched hall of the Old Whaling Church on a picturesque Tuesday evening to take up a hefty annual town meeting warrant.

A 13-article special town meeting warrant and a 79-article annual town meeting warrant were in front of voters. Both contained a flurry of spending articles for regional and town projects involving climate resiliency, affordable housing and wastewater management. The much-discussed housing bank passed overwhelmingly and with little dissent.

Shortly after 7 p.m., moderator Steve Ewing opened the meeting, with 229 voters present. Voters made quick work of the special town meeting warrant, approving every article with little dissent.

Mr. Ewing, who also serves as the town’s poet laureate, started off the annual town meeting by reciting a poem called Town Dock.

“I am yours, I belong to all of you, like your parents and your children yet to come,” Mr. Ewing said. “I am your town dock, you should be proud.”

Paul Bagnall, who recently retired as shellfish constable after 37 years on the job, bid farewell and expressed his gratitude to the townspeople.

“In the 30-plus years that I ran the department I wrote over 100 articles for the town meeting floor. They all passed, most of them unanimously, so I’d just like to stand up and thank you for that,” Mr. Bagnall said.

After hearing from a few more town employees about their department’s contributions to the annual budget, there was lengthy discussion about the cost of living increase, which personnel board chairman Marcel LaFlamme moved to change from 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent.

“We think our employees deserve a much greater cost of living adjustment than the two and a half per cent,” Mr. LaFlamme said.

But town administrator James Hagerty said a five per cent adjustment coupled with the four per cent pay raise most town employees are due is not sustainable.

“I wish I could pay the employees a 20 per cent raise. But unfortunately we’re all stewards of the taxpayer’s money and I have a fiduciary responsibility to keep this budget as lean as possible,” Mr. Hagerty said.

In the end the amendment failed and the article passed. Mr. Ewing, who injected dry humor throughout the meeting, made a point about the discussion causing a slow start to the meeting.

“We’re all the way up to [article] three here,” the moderator said to laughter from the audience.

Voters then passed the $40.9 million budget. After reading through the line items, Mr. Ewing expressed surprised that no one wanted to discuss any of them.

“I’ve been going to a few town meetings and that’s one of the first times I saw that,” he said.

From there the pace of the meeting sped up as voters briskly approved a spate of articles. Selectman Arthur Smadbeck amended a spending article for Fourth of July fireworks from $50,000 to $75,000, which voters approved. Voters also approved $20,000 for a pest management program, $2 million to put into a rainy day fund, $65,000 to upgrade the Edgartown School generator, $50,000 for repairs at town hall and $20,000 to study power lines on Chappaquiddick thought to be susceptible to climate change.

As expected, the housing bank article drew significant discussion. Those who

spoke in favor talked about the Island’s need for more affordable housing and made moral appeals to the audience. The few dissenters worried about the impact the housing bank would have on Edgartown, which would generate almost 60 per cent of housing bank revenue, and wanted to see the town come up with more affordable housing projects on its own. After about 30 minutes of discussion Mr. Ewing called for a vote. The article passed overwhelmingly on a voice vote.

The audience erupted with applause after the housing bank passed but as more than a few voters got up to leave. Mr. Ewing stepped in.

“We really would like to all stay here for a while, we’ve got to keep the quorum,” he said.

Voters then made quick work of another lengthy set of articles. They approved $167,503 for three new police cruisers, $200,000 to rebuild and resurface town streets, $175,000 to rebuild the Katama boat landing, $20,000 to repair town-owned docks between the Atlantic Restaurant and the Edgartown Yacht Club and $491,000 to develop a comprehensive wastewater management plan.

Near the end the meeting bogged down over article to add a lengthy section about swimming pools to the zoning bylaws. Ted Rosbeck, owner of Island Pools and Spas, pointed out that the setback requirements would allow people to put pools closer to their property lines. Pools should adhere to general setback requirements instead, he said.

“I don’t know why I’m arguing against building pools closer, but it makes no sense,” Mr. Rosbeck said. “It’s going to be a detriment to abutters.”

In the end the bylaw change was sent back to the planning board for further review.

After voters approved a ban on many single use plastic bottles, the last Island town to do so, Mr. Ewing brought the three-and-a-half hour meeting to a close.

“Let’s go home,” he said to applause.