Oak Bluffs voters re-elect Vail and Santoro, approve 2 of 3 capital projects

Voters turned out in large numbers to approve override and fire station and to reject town hall.

From left: Lookout staffers Jen Toppin, Whitney Multari, Adrianne Zappula, and Linda Hammond express their support for Mike Santoro. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Updated at 9:50 am, Friday, April 11.

At the polls Thursday, Oak Bluffs voters approved a $600,000 Proposition 2.5 override (476-375), said no to a debt exclusion needed to finance a new town hall (389-446)and by the slimmest of margins, said yes to a debt exclusion needed to finance a new fire/EMS station (421-415).

In a three way race for two seats on the five-member board of selectmen, Michael Santoro (556) and Walter Vail (488) both won re-election to three year terms. Challenger Abraham Seiman finished with 343 votes.

“I’m very happy about the override, and I’m happy about the fire station,” chairman of the selectmen Walter Vail said. “We’ll have to work on town hall.”

“I’m very humbled that the people of Oak Bluffs have re-elected me,” selectman Michael Santoro said. “I thought town hall was going to be close, but I was surprised the fire station was that close,” he said referring to the capital expenditure votes. “It just shows that every vote counts.”

In the race for one open seat on the planning board, Ewell Hopkins (420) unseated incumbent chairman of the planning board John Bradford (355).

Michael R. Hoyt (481) won election to the school committee over Michele Moore (268).

In the race for three seats on the financial and advisory committee, Maura McGroarty (533) and Abraham Seiman (446) were re-elected and Kimberly Burke (520) won the remaining seat. Robert Huss had 350 votes.

In a race for a seat on the water commission, Raymond J. Moreis Jr. (559) bested   George Brown (183).

Turnout was high. A total of 896 went to the polls, approximately 24.5 percent of the town’s 3,655 registered voters. A total of 282 voters attended annual town meeting Tuesday night.

The board of health race was entirely a write-in vote with Patricia Bergeron (182) besting James Butterick (133).

At the annual town meeting on Tuesday, April 8, Oak Bluffs voters approved the construction of a new town hall and new EMS/fire station, which will cost $6,830,000 and $8,288,000, respectively. Both projects were approved overwhelmingly on voice votes. The Proposition 2.5 debt exclusions allow the capital expenditures for both projects to be excluded from the tax levy, which cannot otherwise exceed 2.5 percent of the previous year’s levy, without an override vote.

In uncontested races: Laura B. Johnston was elected town clerk (716); John V. Tiernan was re-elected to the cemetery commission (604); Amy K. Billings was re-elected to the park commission (733); Gail Barmakian was re-elected wastewater commissioner (616); and Nelson S. Oliver was elected water district commissioner (658).