Affordable housing on Nantucket finally has a dedicated annual revenue stream, a long-held goal of island housing advocates.
Nantucket voters on Tuesday endorsed a permanent $6.5 million tax override for affordable housing initiatives. The margin - 1,096 in favor to 994 opposed - was far closer than it was two weeks earlier at Town Meeting. But it was enough to usher in the operating override that will be replenish the Affordable Housing Trust with $6.5 million each year to dedicate toward its initiatives.
The vote also indicated an acknowledgement by island residents of the depth of the housing crisis Nantucket faces, as it comes on the heels of voters endorsing more than $67 million in taxpayer funds for affordable home ownership and rental projects since 2018.
Tuesday's vote was also notable due to the fact that the spending proposal had faced significant headwinds following stated opposition from former Select Board member Rick Atherton - who called it a "matter of trust" - and Nantucket Tipping Point member Meghan Perry, among others, who advocated against the spending proposal in the days and weeks leading up to the annual town meeting and town election.
Nantucket's municipal housing director Tucker Holland and Affordable Housing Trust chair Brian Sullivan had responded to those criticisms, and in the weeks after Town Meeting they outlined both the work that has already been done with the previously-approved $67 million, as well as the town's plans moving forward.
The override will raise the annual tax bill for the average year-round property valued at $1.68 million (with the residential exemption) by approximately $211 per year.
It was one of seven tax overrides that voters approved on Tuesday, including funds for the Wauwinet Road bike path and the town's solid waste operation.
2023 Ballot Questions:
Question 1 - Supplemental funding for Surfside area roads reconstruction and transportation improvements | $13 million
- Yes: 1,174 ✅
- No: 673
Question 2 - Supplemental Funding For Landfill Closure Costs | $5 million
- Yes: 1,413 ✅
- No: 632
Question 3 - Supplemental Funding: Wauwinet Road Shared Use Path | $4.6 million
- Yes: 1,460 ✅
- No: 615
Question 4 - Appropriation for the Nobadeer Playing Fields Complex - Field Addition; Associated Renovations to Adjacent Fields; Site Enhancements | $3.8 million
- Yes: 1,044 ✅
- No: 984
Question 5 - Appropriation for General Fund Capital Expenditures | $970,000
- Yes: 1,427 ✅
- No: 634
Question 6 - Appropriation for Affordable Housing Trust Fund | $6.5 million
- Yes: 1,096 ✅
- No: 994
Question 7 - Appropriation: Fiscal Year 2024 Enterprise Funds Operations | $3.75 million
- Yes: 1,188 ✅
- No: 867