Town meeting season came to a lively end Tuesday when voters in Aquinnah dug into a 44-article warrant and debated wide-ranging issues relating to conservation, affordable housing and the salaries of town employees.

Over the course of three hours, a crowd of 62 voters dwindled to around 40, but debate simmered throughout the evening. Many votes were too close to call and required a standing tally.

Voters approved a $4.18 million annual budget with amendments to reduce payroll spending for the board of health, board of assessors and department of public works.

Town administrator Adam Wilson, who made the amendments, said a future classification and compensation study would help set the bar for the town.

Mr. Wilson’s own salary was a topic of debate when a small contingent of voters questioned a five per cent raise for him, calling it out of line with other town payroll increases.

Debate simmered throughout the night on an array of topics: conservation, housing, salaries for town employees. — Mark Lovewell

Selectman Jim Newman came to Mr. Wilson’s defense, praising his work at town hall, and his leadership during the Gay Head Light relocation. “He deserves the salary he gets,” Mr. Newman said, calling the efforts from the floor vindictive.

In the end an amendment to reduce the increase to two per cent was defeated. Mr. Wilson’s new salary is $91,631.

Voters easily appropriated $210,000 in community preservation funds for historic preservation, community housing, and open space and recreation, including a total of $108,200 for projects related to Aquinnah Circle. The largest request was for $30,520 to cover ongoing mortgage costs related to the Manning-Murray property east of the Gay Head Light.

At the start of the meeting, CPC chairman Derrill Bazzy drew attention to the pages of a planning report for the Circle taped to the wall of the Old Town Hall. The report was done by students at the Conway School of Landscape Design and will be available on the town website.

“We got a great product and I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy it,” Mr. Bazzy said.

In the largest request of the night, voters approved $450,000 for a new pumper truck for the fire department. Fire chief Simon Bollin explained that repairing the pump on the current truck, purchased in 1994, could cost more than $100,000. He added that the required parts are no longer in production.

“You end up starting to look at a junkyard, and I don’t want to put our guys in trucks that have pieces from junkyards,” the chief said. The new truck will carry foam, which he said was more effective at fighting fires than water. The article still requires a debt exclusion to be decided at the town election today.

Aquinnah is the fifth Island town to adopt a ban on single use plastic bags, an initiative proposed by the Vineyard Conservation Society. VCS member Liz Witham amended the article on the floor to put enforcement in the hands of the board of health only, removing reference to the police department. Another provision allows the board of health to delay the start date by one year for businesses who can’t deplete their inventory of plastic bags by Jan. 1, 2017.

VCS member Samantha Look noted the proliferation of plastic bag bans around the state, and said the goal on the Vineyard is largely to keep plastic out of the Atlantic. “As an Island community we should be great stewards of the ocean,” she said. The ban was approved unanimously.

But voters split over a zoning change aimed at increasing affordable housing opportunities. The change will allow accessory apartments for family members and affordable rentals. The article triggered wide-ranging discussion.

Isaac Taylor said he appreciated the need for lower-income housing in town, but wondered if limiting the accessory housing units to family members and affordable rentals might be passing up an opportunity for residents to make money. Megan Ottens-Sargent worried about creating more bureaucracy in a small town.

“We hope this will be the start of a conversation,” said planning board chairman Peter Temple.

A move to table the article failed 27-23. Then despite some protest from the floor, moderator Michael Hebert cut the discussion short and called the question. The zoning amendment passed 31-13.

At the outset Mr. Hebert expressed gratitude to outgoing selectman Spencer Booker, who has served three terms and is not seeking reelection. “Well done, sir,” Mr. Hebert said, following applause and cheering. He also recognized Jerry Wiener and Priscilla Belain, who are retiring after years of service to the town.

The annual town election is today. Polls are open from noon to 7 p.m. There is a two-way race for selectman.