ORLEANS – For the first time since June, the select board is at full membership.
Voters at Tuesday's special town election backed Michael Herman to finish out the term vacated by Cecil Newcomb last summer. Herman, who ran unopposed for the seat, garnered 1,475 votes. There were 41 write-in votes and 33 ballots left blank.
Four ballot questions also were put before voters on Tuesday. A request for $365,000 to replace a methane gas flare at the town landfill passed 1,347-448. The replacement is required for the town to be in compliance with its permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Another $3.3 million was approved by a 1,350-477 vote to finance the second phase of the town's Nauset Beach retreat project. The money will fund the construction of a new 218-space parking lot on the site of the Hubler property above the existing parking lot at Nauset Beach. The money will also be used to create an access road to the beach and fund the installation of a new septic system leach field. The town had previously received a $1 million grant from the state Office of Coastal Zone Management that will also be put toward the work.
A question seeking $580,000 for emergency dredging of Rock Harbor passed by a vote of 1,430-395. The work, which will be done this winter, will remediate shoaling and ensure that boats can safely enter and exit the harbor. A full dredging of the harbor is planned for 2023.
Question 4 on the ballot sought $495,000 to start a universal pre-kindergarten program in Orleans. Voters passed the question 1,186-651. The program is expected to serve 66 three- and four-year-old children in town.
All four projects will be funded through an override of Proposition 2½ .
A total of 1,849 residents voted in Tuesday's special election. Town Clerk Kelly Darling said 1,200 residents filled out and returned early voting ballots. By early Tuesday afternoon, voter turnout had eclipsed 20 percent, she said.
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