Select board members from all six Martha’s Vineyard towns met with Nantucket leaders June 20 for an annual joint select board meeting, discussing a slate of common issues shared between the island communities.

Municipal employee housing, wastewater management and town hall staffing shortages were all discussed on Thursday evening, with board members from both islands comparing notes and initiatives on the most pressing issues faced by each community.

High real estate prices took center stage for most of the discussion, with board members agreeing that the upward trend has contributed to many of the issues on the Vineyard and Nantucket.

“It’s impossible to find a house for even under $2 million on Nantucket these days,” said Dawn Holdgate, chair of the Nantucket select board. “The average is about $3.5 [million] now.”

The increasing prevalence of short-term rental properties was raised as one cause of the price hike, with Nantucket select board and affordable housing committee member Brooke Mohr outlining her town's work on the topic. Nantucket voters approved a bylaw at town meeting two years ago to register and regulate short term rentals, she said, and the platform to register those properties is set to be completed soon.

Laura Silber, Martha’s Vineyard Commission housing coordinator, said she is in the process of acquiring state grant funding for a short-term rental study on behalf of Vineyard planning boards.

“It seems like you all are undertaking a similar process to us, but you’re just maybe a year behind,” said Ms. Holdgate.

Regardless of the cause, though, town officials said they are feeling the effects of housing prices when it comes time to hire new staff.

“People don’t want to move here, because there is nowhere to live,” said West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand. West Tisbury’s assistant board of health agent position has been vacant for several months, she said, and the assistant animal control officer position has been vacant for a year. “It’s hard to hire people. It’s really hard to live here."

The town of Nantucket has already begun leasing properties aimed to be used for affordable housing, said Ms. Mohr, in the hopes of attracting employees to the island. “It’s going to be thorny,” she said, of determining which employees will get access to town housing. “It’s about triaging, who’s most in need and who’s most critical…just because it’s going to be hard doesn’t means we shouldn’t do it.”

Nantucket town manager Elizabeth Gibson added that the town has begun to hire more remote workers in town. “It would be better if they were here, but in a way we don’t have room for them here, because the office space is also problematic,” she said.

Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty said his town now has several department heads who commute from Falmouth each day, and they are exploring a town meeting article to cover the cost of their commute.

Shark sightings, sewer planning, sustainability and the steamship authority also came up at the joint meeting last week, which lasted nearly two hours. Before adjourning, Ms. Holdgate proposed meeting again in the winter, when each of the boards was less busy.

“I think we should consider making this biannual, to continue to share and work together on our crossover issues,” she said.