Topics: Municipal Finance

Selectmen Approve Debt Exclusion Ballot For Cape Tech Project

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Voters will face two separate election ballots when they go to the polls on Tuesday, Oct. 24 for a special election that will determine whether a new school will be built to replace the aging Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. Selectmen voted Monday night to allow a separate, second election. Voters will first act on the Cape Tech school building question on one ballot. Then they will have to r...

Price Tag Drops For Cape Tech Building Project

By: Alan Pollock

PLEASANT LAKE — There's no escaping the fact that a new building to replace the aging Cape Tech school will be costly. But according to projections released last week, it will be a bit less costly than initially thought. Owing to more detailed design information and some constructive pencil-sharpening, cost estimates for the new school have dropped from about $141 million to around $128 million. Speaking at la...

ORLEANS – Days before its mandate expired, the town's revenue committee urged the board of selectmen and finance committee to face facts and do something to avert a steep property tax increase over the next four years. At a joint meeting, committee chair John Laurino said the town must establish a policy to pursue grant opportunities aggressively, thereby reducing the cost of borrowing for long-term projects i...

ORLEANS — Mashpee was the first “green community” on Cape Cod, and since 2010 has received $446,093 in state funds. That kind of “green” appeals not only to the Orleans Renewable Energy Committee but also to the town revenue committee. Both boards were represented at the June 21 joint meeting of the selectmen and finance committee to hear a presentation on getting to green from Seth Pickering, southeast region...

Cape Codders Divided Over Rental Tax Proposals

By: Ed Maroney

HYANNIS — Some see it as a dedicated revenue stream that could help Cape communities pay for wastewater infrastructure. Others say it's an unreasonable burden on homeowners just trying to meet mortgage payments and property taxes. There seemed little room for consensus in the SRO hearing room at Barnstable Town Hall June 10, when hundreds turned out to tell state legislators what they thought of plans to tax...

Revenue Committee Prepares Next Steps

By: Ed Maroney

ORLEANS — Facing an expiration date of June 30, the revenue committee has been meeting in recent weeks to shape its June 21 report to the board of selectmen and perhaps ask for more time to advance its ideas to augment the town's coffers. The committee's signal success to date was Town Meeting's agreement in May to accept state law that allows the creation of enterprise funds. Communities use such funds to s...

Selectmen Worried Tax Lien Auction Will Hurt Some

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town has taken steps to move forward with its plan to auction tax liens as a means of generating revenue from delinquent payments on property taxes. But selectmen on Monday night expressed concern that the initiative is moving too fast and questioned whether the necessary homework has been done. The town has scheduled the auction for June 6 and a list of tax titles scheduled to be assigned and tr...

HARWICH — The Friends of the Council on Aging, Inc. will file a petition in Barnstable County Probate Court to redirect approximately $700,000 it has raised over more than 40 years for constructing a senior center to instead fund programs, counseling, facilities and education to benefit senior citizens in town. The petition is being filed in the form of a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office, whi...

Harwich To Sell Tax Liens To Private Investor

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — With $5.7 million in tax liens sitting on the books, Treasurer/Tax Collector Amy Bullock has made the decision to sell the liabilities to a private investor. The sale could provide the town with a quick infusion of money. Bullock brought the idea to selectmen nearly a year ago, pointing out state law allows municipalities to sell tax liens to private investors. She said this week the town presently h...

ORLEANS — How to address the needs of a booming program can be even more complex than shoring up one in decline. By many measures, the council on aging is getting the job done. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 1,242 Orleans seniors were served by the senior center's many programs. While reason for satisfaction, some say the numbers call for a reorganization. “Members of the council on aging board, t...

Acknowledging that their draft wastewater agreement with Harwich is a complex, weighty document, some Chatham selectmen are floating the possibility of deferring action until a special town meeting in the summer or fall, rather than seeking approval at the May annual town meeting. The board will likely make a decision at its March 14 meeting, but several people at their Feb. 28 session raised the possibly of d...

HARWICH — Selectmen agreed Monday night to tiptoe through the funding of phase two of the comprehensive wastewater management plan, slated for the May annual town meeting. The board voted not to put forward a single request for $34 million to implement phase two, which calls for the design and construction of sewers in the Pleasant Bay watershed; payment to the town of Chatham for the purchase of treatment cap...

Revenue Researchers Engage Citizens At Forum

By: Alan Pollock

ORLEANS — About 50 people came to the senior center March 1 to find out more about the revenue committee's proposals to pay for town operations such as the beaches and the transfer station out of their own dedicated income streams. At the Orleans Citizens Forum event, committee member Paul Kelleher presented research that showed, compared to equal Cape communities, the town has the highest percentage of prop...

HARWICH — Grasping municipal finance can be like learning a foreign language. That's the sentiment of Carol Coppola, the town's prospective finance director/town accountant, who said she's eager to make the budgetary process easier for people to understand. By unanimous vote of selectmen Monday, and pending successful salary negotiations, Coppola will take the town's top finance job in about a month. Copp...

Clark Floats $60.7M Spending Plan For FY18

By: Alan Pollock

HARWICH — Saying there's evidence that town finances are stabilizing, Town Administrator Christopher Clark submitted a balanced budget to selectmen Monday night. The draft fiscal 2018 spending plan will now be scrutinized by selectmen and the finance committee and is likely to undergo many revisions before town meeting in May. Though it omits or reduces nearly $1 million in funding requests from department hea...

Public Safety Budget Request Up Nearly 6 Percent

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Driven by personnel costs, and particularly overtime expenses, the town's public safety budget requests are up 5.92 percent over the current year's spending plan. The police and fire department budgets make up the majority of the $6.18 million request, though the figure also includes the animal control officer, emergency management, oil pollution control and a contribution to the Cape and Islands e...