Edgartown gave a green light to expanding the town historic district, and were mostly in favor of spending for a wide range of town items — but stopped short of approving the town’s portion of $2.5 million to expand and rebuild the refuse district central transfer station.

Moderator Philip J. Norton Jr. guided voters through the three-hour meeting. — Jeanna Shepard

As a rainy day cleared and the sunset’s golden pink light filtered through the long windows of the Old Whaling Church, 239 voters were on hand to dispatch with another year of town business. At 7:10 p.m. moderator Philip J. Norton Jr. announced a quorum and Boy Scouts Charlie Fenske, Harrison Neville-Arena, Ethan Fink and Keith Healy presented the colors as voters stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Over the next three hours Mr. Norton guided Edgartown voters to move speedily through a 16-article special town meeting warrant before taking on the 66-article annual town meeting warrant.

A $33.5 million operating budget was easily approved, as were a wide range of spending items. Community preservation act spending this year included $500,000 for repairs to Memorial Wharf, $350,000 in town hall improvements, $125,000 for beach sand nourishment at Fuller Street Beach, $100,000 for the town’s portion of construction of rest rooms at the high school baseball field, and $50,000 for a sensory and literary garden at the new Edgartown library.

There were a few questions from the floor about the definition of a sensory garden. Library director Lisa Sherman and Edgartown school educator Melinda Rabbitt DeFeo said the area adjacent to the children’s wing at the new library would feature tactile and sensory pieces for children and would be open to the community.

An expansion of the town’s historic district was also approved. The district was first adopted in 1987. The new area will double the size of the district, adding about 340 new properties.

Color guard salutes and leads town meeting in pledge of allegiance. — Jeanna Shepard

At first, contractor Norman Rankow proposed postponing the article. He argued that the bylaw is not being followed to the letter of the law, citing prohibition of composite materials and inconsistent decisions.

“I think it’s wise we retain the character but I think it’s time that the historic district commission apply the bylaw as we voted it in 1987 and confirmed it in 2013,” he said. “I’d like to see them be a little more consistent in their review.”

Commission chairman Susan Catling said reviews are done on a case-by-case basis and composite materials have been approved in the past.

Mr. Rankow’s motion to postpone was defeated, and the expansion passed by the required two-thirds majority, 169 to 48. Another article to pay about $5,000 for three signs required by the commonwealth to mark the historic district was approved.

The town easily approved new flood plain maps, and there was some debate about a proposal to adopt a new state law that allows boards and commissions to set fees for licenses and permits. If the board or commission is appointed by selectmen, the selectmen would review fee changes and all fee increases would require a public hearing. Some argued that the change would result in residents giving up the right to comment on changes. The article passed 150 to 81 after a standing vote.

But the favorable spending mood stopped with a $2.5 million borrowing article to expand the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District central transfer station in Edgartown.

Town IT director and public information officer Adam Darack provided annual update. — Jeanna Shepard

At special and town meetings in 2015, voters in the four refuse district towns, including Edgartown, had easily approved a 20-year borrowing initiative; Edgartown taxpayers would have shouldered about 70 per cent of the cost.

The article had to be revoted this year because of a technical problem. But what was seen as a routine re-vote resulted in defeat of the proposal amid concerns about the size and scale of the project and the price tag.

Refuse district manager Don Hatch said reconfiguring the transfer station to separate commercial and residential waste, among other things, would improve safety and help keep up with state regulations.

When pressed about safety concerns, Mr. Hatch cited fender benders as an example. “That justifies $2.5 million?” someone from the audience said.

A motion to indefinitely postpone the article passed 151 to 68. “The article is killed,” Mr. Norton declared.

A new ambulance with a $260,00 price tag was approved pending approval at the polls Thursday. A total of $775,000 to rebuild and resurface town streets, including Katama Road, Barnes Road and Edgartown Road, was approved, as was $210,000 to construct a bike path along Meetinghouse Way; the bike path and $350,000 toward street surfacing are also on the ballot Thursday.

Rainy day gave way to stunning sunset as voters filled the Old Whaling Church. — Jeanna Shepard

The meeting started with several rounds of applause and recognition of town officials.

Selectman Michael Donaroma gave an annual report largely focused on the new Edgartown library that opened last month next to the town elementary school. After thanking those involved with the project, Mr. Donaroma addressed an issue on the minds of many Edgartown residents: the state of the town post office, which has been closed due to water damage, and the temporary facility at the old library.

“The old Carnegie library, soon to someday be the Carnegie Heritage Center, will be full of Island history,” Mr. Donaroma said “Even though right now it’s full of our mail.”

He said the selectmen thanked town administrator Pamela Dolby for her devotion to addressing the post office issue, generating a loud round of applause. “Literally night and day she’s been working on it.”

Town clerk Wanda Williams stepped to the podium to recognize constable Jonathan Searle, who stood in uniform at the back of the room. Mr. Searle is not running for re-election after 19 years as constable; he stepped into the role after the death of his father, George Searle, who served for 28 years. “We would like to thank you for all you did for us over these years,” Ms. Williams said before another round of applause.

As darkness started to fall, town poet laureate Steve Ewing read a poem that wove together the town post office, the town library and the shipwreck of the Mertie B. Crowley.

By the end of the night, the town had two new fence viewers. As the annual meeting got underway, Benjamin Hall Jr. pointed out that the town had only filled one of three fence viewer positions, which he said was an important role.

“You’re right,” selectman Art Smadbeck noted. “Who wants to be fence viewer?” Mr. Norton said.

Shellfish constable Paul Bagnall and Trudy Carter were nominated from the floor, as was Robert E. Ward, previously the lone fence viewer. All three were unanimously appointed.

The meeting came to an end a few minutes after 10 p.m. with unanimous approval of $3,000 for a water department lawn mower. Mr. Norton ended the meeting with his familiar refrain. “Thanks very much. Don’t forget to vote.”