Topics: Municipal Finance

Town Sets 4 Percent Cap On FY19 Budget Increases

By: Ed Maroney

ORLEANS — In planning their budgets for the fiscal year that begins next July 1, department heads can propose up to a 4 percent expenditure increase over the current year. Selectmen set the standard, which applies to town and school budgets, last week. “Last year, I told the board we were at a crossroads,” Town Administrator John Kelly told selectmen Nov. 1. The standard 2.5 percent annual increase was becom...

CHATHAM – A proposed capital improvement plan for the Chatham Municipal Airport calls for more than $7 million in expenditures through 2025, with almost all of the funding coming from the state and federal governments. Among the big-ticket items in the plan are the reconstruction of the airport's parallel taxiway, a new airport administration building, and an update of the airport's master plan. Most of the...

Cape Tech Wins Big

By: Alan Pollock

HARWICH PORT — By a more than three-to-one margin, voters Tuesday gave Cape Cod Tech the green light for a $128 million new high school building. Based on unofficial tallies from town clerks in the 12 towns from Mashpee to Provincetown, the building project passed by a vote of 12,207 to 3,927, earning solid wins in each town in the district. “Most of all, this vote endorses our students,” Superintendent o...

Cape Tech Wins Big

By: Alan Pollock

HARWICH PORT — By a more than three-to-one margin, voters Tuesday gave Cape Cod Tech the green light for a $128 million new high school building. Based on unofficial tallies from town clerks in the 12 towns from Mashpee to Provincetown, the building project passed by a vote of 12,207 to 3,927, earning solid wins in each town in the district. “Most of all, this vote endorses our students,” Superintendent o...

Selectmen's Budget Message: Slow Down Spending

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — “We need to slow down and stop spending money,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Michael MacAskill said when presenting the board of selectmen's budget message Monday night. Referring to the five-year financial analysis presented last week by Town Administrator Christopher Clark and Finance Director Carol Coppola, the message stated clearly the need of selectmen, administration, finance committee and depa...

ORLEANS — Decades ago, Massachusetts voters capped municipal budget increases at 2½ percent, plus new growth. With costs such as health benefits growing at three or four times that level, communities have looked to fees to make up some of the difference. “In 1990, the ability to raise revenues just by raising the tax rate stopped,” Selectman Alan McClennen said Sept. 20. “The whole idea of fees came up. Now ...

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...