Aquinnah voters approved a hefty Proposition 2 1/2 override at the ballot box on Wednesday, one night after packing their annual town meeting to argue over everything from the town budget to a ban on single-use plastic bottles.

A crowd of 88 voters turned out for the last annual town meeting in one of the most active political seasons in recent memory on the Island, filling every seat in the old town hall and a few more in the vestibule.

The 52-article warrant was as packed as the building.

“This is going to be a very long meeting,” moderator Mike Hebert said as the meeting got under way. Wen the meeting adjourned nearly four hours later, his prophecy proved true.

At the polls Wednesday afternoon. — Mark Alan Lovewell

In a tight year for finances, there was intense debate over even small town expenditures. Finance committee chairman Allen Rugg gave an overview at the outset.

“The driver for the override is education,” he said. “The non-education budget offered to you tonight is less than two per cent. It’s not because the schools went on a spending binge. It’s because we are blessed to have nine new students in the school system.”

Although the warrant included a number of proposals to find savings to offset the override, including money previously allocated toward new public safety vehicles and improvement projects around the Cliffs, most of the debate was over large cuts to the assessors’ budget. Aquinnah selectmen are in the process of taking steps to outsource the assistant assessor position as a way to save money. The move has been vigorously opposed by one member of the board of assessors and assistant assessor Angela Cywinski, who is not a voter but was handing out leaflets before the meeting began.

Assessor Elise LeBovit challenged the budget cuts and tried to restore the money, moving to increase the assessors line item from $40,000 to $70,000.

“The full-time assessing coverage that you are used to is being taken away,” she said.

Mr. Rugg explained the rationale behind outsourcing the assessor job, which he said will save the town an estimated $90,000.

“We understand that this is a hot issue, and we are respectful of the board of assessors and that they disagree with this,” he said. “But the costs are compelling.”

Voters agreed and Ms. LeBovit’s motion failed. A series of spending articles proposed by the assessors were also later defeated.

After more than an hour of debate, the $5.3 million budget was approved.

Heated debate extended to other articles, including a bylaw drafted by a group of up-Island school children to ban the sale of single use plastic bottles in town. The bylaw has already passed in West Tisbury and Chilmark. On Tuesday it won approval in Aquinnah too, but not without disagreement.

Jacob Vanderhoop, proprietor of the Aquinnah Shop family restaurant, argued against the bylaw, saying it would pose a hardship to small food shops like his.

“It’s really just going to hurt the businesses of the local people here. I think we need to think a little bit more about this,” he said.

Selectman Juli Vanderhoop, who also owns a food shop in town, countered with an impassioned defense of the bylaw.

“Instead of fighting over this, we should get together as business owners to find a better way and to mark our price and not lose when this is put up in front of us. Instead of pulling ourselves apart, let’s come together and find a solution,” she said.

Rodeo Purves-Langer, a student who lives in Aquinnah, added his own remarks.

“We live in one of the most beautiful towns on earth. We want to keep it this way. This is one step that we as a town can take to ensure that it will stay the beautiful place that it is today,” he said.

In the end voters agreed and the bylaw was approved.

Aquinnah also became the last town to take action on the Islandwide housing bank. Although the issue is now officially on hold after five other towns either defeated or delayed the proposal this spring, Derrill Bazzy asked voters to show their support for the issue regardless.

“Even though the other five towns have decided differently, that shouldn’t be why we don’t support it,” he said. “I just feel it would be great if we can make a statement that says we support this idea, but it needs to grow a little more.”

Mr. Bazzy then held up a bumper sticker that said, “Don’t blame me, I’m from Aquinnah.”

After brief discussion and gentle prodding from town counsel Ron Rappaport, voters decided to adopt the stance taken by West Tisbury, voicing support for the housing bank concept but sending the proposal back to a committee for redrafting and a potential vote next year.

As the meeting came to a close, voters approved six changes to the town’s stringent zoning bylaws that would make applications for special permits easier to navigate. Rules restricting the height of houses and solar panel installations will also be eased. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Aquinnah’s townwide district of critical planning concern.

“The town held two public listening sessions to look at how to revise these bylaws to make it easier for applicants to apply for projects in the town,” said administrative assistant Sophia Welch. “Almost half of the 70 permit applications last year would have not gone before the planning board if these changes were in place, and would have decreased the work of the planning board.”

In a poignant moment, Mr. Rappaport gave hearty thanks to Peter Temple, who has served on the town planning board for 23 years and will step down this year.

“I have worked with Peter for 20 years,” Mr. Rappaport said. “Not to offend anyone else, but there is nobody who works as hard as Peter, and the service he has given to this town is invaluable. I will miss having you on the board.”

The meeting adjourned just before 11 p.m.

Thirteen hours later, 117 of the town’s 366 registered voters headed to the polls to cast ballots on the $375,000 general override, passing it 72-41.

Selectman Gary Haley, who had worked with the finance committee since January to lower the override from its original $500,000 mark, was happy with the outcome. He waited at the polls for the final results.

“We’re pleased with the result,” Mr. Haley said. “It came out favorable to the town. We’re thankful that it passed, so we can move on to other things now.”

In the town’s only contested race, Gerald Green defeated Elaine Vogel-Vanderhoop to win a seat on the board of health. The vote was 65-44.

“I’ve been coming to the town for many years, and recently moved here full time and wanted to make a contribution,” Mr. Green said. “The thing I know most about is health and healthcare, and I thought this would be the best way for me to make a positive contribution to the town.”

Also on the ballot:

• Incumbent selectman Gary Haley was returned to office with 93 votes.

• Longtime moderator Mike Hebert was re-elected with 98 votes and was top vote-getter.

• Jo-Ann Eccher was elected to the planning board 85 votes.

• James Mahoney was elected to the planning board with 97 votes.

• Thomas Murphy was elected to the planning board with 93 votes.

• Heidi Vanderhoop was elected library trustee with 17 write-in votes.

• Heidi Vanderhoop was elected town constable with 15 write-in votes.