Aquinnah special town meeting fails to achieve quorum

It was lonely in Aquinnah Monday night as officials showed up, but voters did not for a special town meeting. - Lucas Thors

Because a special town meeting in Aquinnah Monday night failed to reach a quorum, an article relating to the use of $229,730 in excess and deficiency funds for the high school was automatically passed.

The funds for the school will be used to cover anticipated deficits in heating oil, building maintenance, and transportation funding, though a similar article in Chilmark was rejected by voters.

There were two other articles on the warrant: one relating to the use of $8,989 to fund upgrades to the Dukes County Regional Emergency Communications Center radio system, and the other to expend $10,000 from the Waterways Improvement fund to build a shed for the shellfish constable at West Basin.

Those articles, according to selectman Juli Vanderhoop, will need to get taken care of in the future.

“We are going to need to build this shed, we have the money to build it,” Vanderhoop said.

For the Aquinnah residents that did show up, the fact that the meeting did not reach a quorum was disappointing.

“So because we didn’t have a quorum, that means we don’t get to vote on the money for the school,” resident Chip Vanderhoop said.

In other business, selectmen appointed Vanderhoop to the board of assessors Monday, filling the final vacant spot on the board during a meeting held just before town meeting was to be held.

The new board of assessors, Elaine Vanderhoop, Juli Vanderhoop, and Gary Haley, will convene in a special session at 3 pm on Tuesday.


  1. After the Aquinnah board of Selectmen destroyed the board of Assessors, and got rid of all certified members, it is only appropriate that two of the three Selectmen must now serve as Assessors, and have to pass difficult online coursework in order to gain certification, which they must do by November, when they will be required to sign the tax reconciliation for the town to have its tax rate certified by the state. Failing that, the town will be without a tax rate, and will be unable to send its tax bills. Gary Haley and Juli Vanderhoop will have to devote significant time cleaning up the mess they made, and will be surprised how much responsibility, and potential liability, they have shouldered in order to wrongfully terminate an excellent employee who had the audacity to speak truth to power.

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