PROVINCETOWN — Voters made quick work of the 30-article town meeting warrant Monday night, passing a slimmed-down budget, several capital items including borrowing for a new ambulance and allocating funding for Harbor Hill.
During the about 90-minute meeting in the parking lot of St. Peter’s Church, masked residents also passed a single-use plastic water bottle ban, a prohibition on hunting on some public and conservation properties in town and allocated money for a consultant on indigenous people.
The $27.8 million budget passed without a peep from the masked crowd, as did several other articles.
Some of the most robust debate came with capital plan and community preservation projects, though all were eventually approved. After getting approvals at the ballot earlier this summer, town meeting voted to borrow $325,000 for a new ambulance Monday night. It will replace an ambulance from 2011 and add about $18 a year to the average property tax for the life of the loan.
The town put $594,557 toward Harbor Hill, the town-owned market-rate apartment complex that is the first of its kind in the state. The former condo complex, which the town bought in 2017, has run into legal challenges and unexpected costs in the ensuing years, necessitating the request for more money to pay for its debt service.
Provincetown Year-Round Market Rate Rental Housing Trust chairman Nathan Butera said the 28 units at Harbor Hill are expected to be filled this fall. Some residents questioned why town meeting continues to have to subsidize the project. Butera said the trust is working to find a revenue source to sustain the project. Trust officials have said in the past that the project was always expected to get some public funds.
“Please consider kindly that we are all working to make this project a success, not only for its own sake, but for the future of housing in Provincetown and for the future of Provincetown itself,” Butera said.
Voters passed a single-use plastic water bottle ban, which prohibits the sale of non-carbonated, unflavored drinking water in single-use plastic bottles less than one gallon in town. The petition article was sponsored by the nonprofit Sustainable Practices and is being presented to towns across the Cape.
Brewster, Falmouth and Wellfleet have also passed similar articles to ban single-use plastic water bottles. The ban starts in September 2021.
It is also now illegal to hunt on town property, including conservation land.
Martha Haskell placed the general bylaw petition to make the discharge of a gun or bow and arrow on town land illegal, with the exception of the Cape Cod National Seashore and Clapp’s Pond, unless otherwise approved by the Select Board. Trapping or poisoning is also now illegal, although that doesn’t apply to people abating a nuisance. Some people found the language about Clapp’s Pond and the nuisance provision vague, but the bylaw passed as written.
Town meeting also voted to hire a consultant to advise the town on indigenous peoples at a cost of $12,607.
The town has been looking to create a memorial to the Wampanoag people, possibly at the site of where the Pilgrims first landed. The consultant will help the town review its history and culture vis-a-vis indigenous people, survey people on their views of indigenous peoples’ representation in public spaces in town, work with Town Hall to review public spaces in which indigenous people may be included and present culturally appropriate and locally relevant proposals for indigenous representation in town, including at least one public art project.
Work to tell the story of indigenous people in town has been ongoing for several years by groups such as Racial Justice Provincetown, and this could be a move toward healing, said Select Board member Lise King.
“It has been generations in the making and we stand tonight on the brink of achieving the first step of bringing the dreams of so many to fruition,” she said.
At the end of the night, every article on the warrant passed, with the exception of a petition article to give the Select Board a raise. That article was indefinitely postponed.
Follow Ethan Genter on Twitter: @EthanGenterCCT.