EASTHAM — The voters were in an agreeable mood at last Saturday’s town meeting, approving every warrant article presented and agreeing to postpone two.
Three of the adopted articles will require further approval at an Oct. 6 special town election: a $400,000 Proposition 2½ override for the recurring funding of the town’s capital plan, to be used in the first year to purchase new police radios and replace an aging dispatch and 911 console; a $490,500 Proposition 2½ override to fund the family support package, which provides for education, housing, and human service needs of Eastham residents; and a petitioned article addressing the storage of spent nuclear fuel and protection and security at the decommissioned Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.
Select board chair Jamie Demetri urged town meeting voters to approve the family support package.
“I truly believe in the importance of residents investing in the future of their community,” she said. “This is one of the first significant programs designed to support young working families in our town. This population is significantly on the decline in our community, and unless we act now, our population makeup will continue to rapidly shift to fewer and fewer year-round residents, especially working-class residents.
“As opposed to leaning on a residential tax exemption that this board feels is far less impactful, we have been working hard to develop effective tools in this town to come to the aid of our families and year-round residents,” Demetri continued. “I truly hope you will see the value of Article 8.”
Articles aimed at reducing pollution prompted the most discussion from residents, as they stepped up to the microphone to voice their support for Article 18, a plastics ban intended to phase out single-use plastic bags, polystyrene, plastic straws, and polystyrene disposable food containers and cutlery and ban the sale, distribution, and intentional release of helium balloons, and Article 19, a ban on selling noncarbonated, unflavored drinking water in single-use plastic bottles less than one gallon in size.
Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe said of the article 18 plastics ban, “Basically, the goal is simply to remove plastic from our oceans and waterways.”
Demetri pointed out that should the single-use water bottle ban not be approved by Orleans at its upcoming town meeting, Eastham voters would have time to delay or change the ban before it goes into effect on Sept. 21, 2021. “It gives us some wiggle room if Orleans doesn’t pass it,” she said.
Select board member Arthur Autorino spoke in support of the article.
“I fully support it,” he said. “The only thing I don’t like about it is it should be now and not a year from now.”
Voters also approved the town’s $30,422,389 operating budget and a $671,900 capital acquisitions article.