Tisbury voters overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to spend some $7 million on a new emergency services facility at Tuesday’s special town meeting.

Concerns that townspeople might not be in a spending mood, given the tough economy, proved unfounded, and the article providing for the bulk of the money — $6.8 million — was passed by a count of 167 votes to 22.

The new building will house the town’s fire, ambulance and emergency management staff and equipment.

A second, related article provided another $115,000 to relocate the town hall annex, which now occupies the Spring street site earmarked for the new building. That measure passed even more easily — 171 to 6.

There were some cheers when the $6.8 million article passed; the process of getting a new building has taken almost six years.

But it is not over yet. Both are borrowing articles and must therefore, under the Proposition 2 1/2 tax levy limit, go to a ballot of the whole town for approval.

That will happen on Dec. 8.

The borrowings required for construction would raise property taxes by about $25 per $100,000 — or about $200 a year on an average $800,000 property.

That cost, however, would be mitigated by the rolling-off of other town debt. The incremental cost to taxpayers would be $17 per $100, 000 in year one, $9 in year two, then $8, then nothing.

Advocates of the new building were heartened by the town meeting result.

“The result was amazing,” said Tisbury finance director Tim McLean later. “I expected a much more split meeting, but it was pretty overwhelming.

“We’re optimistic the ballot result will be good — we only need a simple majority on the ballot; we needed two-thirds at the town meeting.”

He gave much of the credit for the outcome to the emergency service committee, which has steered the project over the years.

“The committee did a really good job of having a bunch of public information sessions at the library, at the school, at the senior center,” he said.

He thought those at the meeting also appreciated the fact that the project will never be less expensive, given the historically low current interest rates and the lower cost of labor.

“The economy may not be great, but if we wait two years, yeah, the economy might be better but interest rates will be higher and labor costs will be higher,” Mr. McLean said.

“I think people just knew the time had come to bite the bullet and do this.”

The urgency of addressing the town’s emergency services needs was driven home in a presentation to the meeting by its building committee chairman Joe Tierney, who described the current fire station as “a 50-year-old building, basically slab on swamp construction . . . [that is] slowly sinking into the swamp.”

Mr. Tierney said the current location made it hard for emergency services to respond quickly, because of traffic constraints. The town’s last ambulance had to be custom-made to fit, and the next ambulance would not fit. And now, when they started the ambulance up, it filled the place with carbon monoxide.

He walked the crowd through the history of the project, the advantages, disadvantages and controversies of the site: it was town land, which made it cheap, but the block was small, leading to design constraints, and close to the school, which necessitated traffic flow and parking changes.

The new facility, he said, would give easier and quicker emergency services to most of the town and especially the school, and also allow a walk-in facility. And it would provide ‘safe haven’ in cases of domestic violence, abandoned babies and other such crises, via a secure room and panic button system.

The new building also provided an alternative voting site.

Fire chief John Schilling followed Mr. Tierney and focused on addressing four main objections to the new building.

First, he promised the fire horn used at the current building to clear traffic would not move to the new building.

“If there’s no traffic, the sirens aren’t going to be blowing,” he said. There would be flashing warning signs instead.

Second, he assured people emergency responders were constrained by law to follow the same traffic rules as everyone else. They could not blow a stop sign, pass a school bus, and, he promised, “We will not have fire fighters speeding through a school zone.”

Third, he said there would be no impact from construction on the operation of the school. None of the grounds or parking area would be used by workers or for staging of materials.

And last, the cost. “We’ll never get money or price like this,” he said.

Town officials continued to hammer the cost theme. Mr. McLean promised the expenditure on the new building would not impact other areas of the town budget or lead to job losses in straitened times. Jonathan Snyder, author of the finance committee’s voter guide and a financial advisor by profession, attested: “I’ve never seen interest rates this low. I never expect to see interest rates this low again.”

But there were a few who did not seem to accept their arguments. Perennial fiscal hawk Margaret Wolontis found the arguments “weird” and accused proponents of “living in a dream world.”

“The thing that started this,” she protested, “was they bought this enormous fire truck.”

Mrs. Wolontis said a better solution was to get rid of the big equipment. She went on at length, and had to be encouraged by moderator Deborah Medders to resume her seat.

But she spoke, as it turned out, for very few of those present. The half-dozen or so other speakers were largely in favor.

The meeting went close to approving $100,000 for solar cells on the roof of the building, although that spending was not recommended by the selectmen or finance committee. The vote was 86-74 in favor of the solar array, but the article required a two-thirds majority.

In all, six articles related to the new building, and all went through remarkable smoothly, in accordance with the recommendations of the selectmen and finance committee. Of the remaining 14 articles on the warrant, only two generated significant discussion.

The most pointed comments concerned a proposal to take $160,000 from the proceeds of the sale of the Lake street apartments to provide additional funds for the Lambert’s Cove Road affordable housing project.

The money was needed because the Lambert’s Cove housing project has cost more to build than its sale will realize.

Tony Peak, a member of the Tisbury planning board, said he had in that position and as a private citizen, always been outspoken in his efforts to advance affordable housing.

But, he said, referring to the recent evidence of waste and mismanagement at the Island Affordable Housing Fund, he now felt “a bit gullible.”

Mr. Peak said he thought the idea of affordable housing was that it was to be made without profits, but could not see why the housing should cost more to build than it could be sold for.

He complained that the cost of the house worked out to $280 per square foot, whereas his own home had cost about $120 per square foot.

“I personally will no longer vote funding for any organization that does not have completely open books, so I can see exactly what it cost and where the money went,” Mr. Peak said.

His wife, Rachel Orr, also was sharply critical of the Lambert’s Cove project, and said she would rather see the money go to the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, to shore up its rental assistance program.

Despite their criticism, however, the article passed, 67 to 52.

The other article which led to substantial talk — most of it from one man, Jim Norton — was a proposed home rule petition regarding the state’s statutory formula for regional school district assessments.

Tisbury officials believe the town has paid some $400,000 more than it should have over the past three years towards the cost of running the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, because of a flawed funding model.

The promise from the state is that at the end of a “transition phase,” Tisbury’s share of the cost will return to what it used to be. But the transition phase keeps getting longer. The home rule petition would seek to shorten that process.

Mr. Norton proposed a change in the article’s wording, which was approved, as was the article itself.