Oak Bluffs voters were in a rebellious mood at their annual town meeting Tuesday.

After long and spirited debate, they defeated the housing bank proposal, rejected a request for money to study repair or reconstruction of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, trimmed a request for funds to maintain a new emergency radio system, and passed a measure that would allow more local control over pesticide spraying.

They approved a $30.9 million operating budget with almost no dissent.

Controversial local issues drew a large crowd to the town meeting this year. When moderator Jesse (Jack) Law 3rd began the meeting, a line of voters was still waiting to check in. The opening gavel was delayed until 7:16 p.m. Eventually 345 voters filed into the high school Performing Arts Center, representing nine per cent of the town’s 3,825 registered voters.

Oak Bluffs voters approved the town budget with almost no dissent. — Jeanna Shepard

The two housing bank articles were last on the warrant but first when measuring the length and passion of the debate. The proposal would have established a new agency modeled after the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, funded by 50 per half the revenue from a newly enacted tax on short term rentals, as well as the current tax on hotel and motel rooms.

Richard Leonard, active in the grassroots group Housing Bank MV which submitted the articles by petition, framed the proposal as a once-in-a-generation chance to solve the housing crisis.

“If we’re serious, and willing to work together as kindred Island towns, marshaling our resources with money and talent to creatively and collaboratively address the Island wide problem, now is an opportunity,” he said.

But town administrator Bob Whritenour, speaking on behalf of the selectmen, outlined the board’s objections to the proposal.

“It places a concentration of power to determine what essentially will be the physical development of our community . . . into a small regional body with no oversight,” Mr. Whritenour said. “That represents a sacrifice, and it’s a pretty big sacrifice for the local determination of the future of our town.”

Speaker after speaker lined up at the microphone to participate in the debate, which touched more than once on the issue of regional versus local control.

“It’s so important to understand that housing is a regional crisis,” said Renee Balter, a member of the town’s affordable housing committee who urged voters to approve the housing bank. “It’s not something we have a lot of time to come up with an answer for. These people have worked so long, so hard, so diligently to bring you an opportunity that we have, that we won’t have again for a long time.”

Ewell Hopkins, chairman of the Oak Bluffs planning board, had another view.

Planning board chairman Ewell Hopkins opposed the housing bank proposal. — Jeanna Shepard

“We believe these questions must be answered as locally as possible,” Mr. Hopkins said. “We have to get this real local, real quick. We have the components in Oak Bluffs to get it done. We don’t need an Islandwide bureaucracy to make the tough decisions that Oak Bluffs needs to make.”

Eventually Mr. Law called for a vote. The housing bank was defeated 197 to 71. A second article to create a funding mechanism for the housing bank was withdrawn.

Earlier in the meeting there was also considerable debate around a request for funding for a feasibility study to determine the scope of repair or rebuilding necessary for the ailing regional high school.

Assistant superintendent Richard Smith outlined the need for improvements at the school, and the need for a $1.4 million study to determine what needs to be done and how much it might cost.

“What we do need is something comprehensive, like a feasibility study,” Mr. Smith said. “It would inform the issues that are happening at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Yesterday during the hard rain, I was walking through the hallways and it was essentially raining inside.”

The Oak Bluffs town share of the cost would be $292,723.

Two members of the town school committee urged voters to reject the funding request as a way to protest the regional formula that is used to divide costs. The formula is based on enrollment.

School committee member Kris O'Brien, center, urged her town not to pay for its share of the regional high school feasibility study. — Jeanna Shepard

“This facility is an Island facility, and the Island needs to get behind this facility,” said school committee member Kris O’Brien. “At the crux of this vote is the funding formula. I cannot personally support this $1.4 million ask. I tried for a year to say the funding formula is not working for the town of Oak Bluffs. It’s falling on deaf ears. A no vote tonight would give me leverage sitting in that meeting. If you believe the regional funding formula is an unfair formula for the town, this is the time for you to say so.”

The request for funds was defeated overwhelmingly in a voice vote.

Voters also decided to reduce a funding request from the Dukes County sheriff, who is asking all six towns to share the cost of maintenance for a new emergency radio system. The infrastructure will be paid for by a state grant, but the grant does not cover maintenance.

Here again, the funding formula was the obstacle, for different reasons. The formula calls for half the cost to be shared equally among the six towns, and the other half to be shared based on the emergency call volume originating from each town.

Town officials say the formula is unfair.

“We’re netting out the calls from some of the regional agencies that all of the other Island communities use just as much as we do, such as the hospital and the high school,” Mr. Whritenour said.

Selectman Gail Barmakian offered an amendment to reduce the requested $56,518 to $54,720.45. The amended article was approved.

A home rule petition that would give the Oak Bluffs board of health more say in the use of herbicides won easy voter approval. The petition is rooted in recent objections to herbicide spraying under power lines by the public utility Eversource. Tisbury and West Tisbury approved similar petitions last year. Edgartown defeated the question on Tuesday night. Chilmark is due to consider a similar article at its annual town meeting next month.

Oak Bluffs voters also approved:

Voting method in Oak Bluffs: raise the yellow card. — Jeanna Shepard

• $160,000 for repairs to the Oak Bluffs harbor jetties and the East Chop landing wall;

• $100,000 for the town’s share of costs to build more elderly housing at the Aidylberg development on Wing Road;

• $198,000 to rehabilitate and preserve the East Chop Lighthouse;

• $200,000 to add to funds previously appropriated to rebuild basketball and tennis courts at the Oak Bluffs School;

• 200,000 to added to funds previously appropriated for a parks and recreation project around Sunset Lake;

• $78,098 for various social services administered by Dukes County.

The evening’s most poignant moment came during discussion of a $19,782 expenditure for a study to find predators for an invasive toxic jellyfish in Farm Pond and other Oak Bluffs waters. The study money was approved, but during discussion selectmen acknowledged the upcoming retirement of shellfish constable David Grunden after 19 years of service to the town.

Mr. Grunden received a sustained standing ovation from voters.