Topics: Municipal Finance

Local fire and rescue departments saw an escalation in calls last year, ranging from 13 percent in Chatham to 15 percent in Orleans and nearly 20 percent in Harwich. Most of the increases were in the number of emergency medical calls fielded by the departments. A major factor, officials say, is the area's aging population; last year's winter storms also contributed to the increase. “The storms certainly did...

Town May Charge Merchants For One-day Alcohol Permits

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — In the summertime, restaurants and bars aren’t the only place in downtown Chatham where you can enjoy a little wine. Increasingly, you can stop for a libation at an art gallery or a clothing store. Having seen a big jump in the requests for special one-day alcoholic beverage permits issued to retailers and other non-foodservice businesses, selectmen are considering imposing a fee for that privil...

Governor Signs Chatham OPEB Legislation

By: The Cape Cod Chronicle

CHATHAM – In a step toward covering the town's $17 million other post-employment benefit liability, Gov. Charlie Baker last week signed legislation authorizing a property tax surcharge to help address the financial obligation. The legislation allows the town to levy a 1.5 percent surcharge on property tax bills beginning in 2020, when the current 3 percent Cape Cod Land Bank excise tax ends. The new surcharge ...

Harwich Gets Guidance On New Short-Term Rental Tax

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — With the new short-term rental tax taking effect this spring, town counsel John Giorgio has laid out options the town might want to exercise that could generate additional revenues for the community. He also addressed a section of the new law relating to a water protection fund and creation of local regulations. Giorgio made it clear that there was not a lot of time remaining before the closure of th...

HARWICH — Even by reducing staff by the equivalent of eight-and-a-half full-time employees, Monomoy school officials expect a shortfall of more than a half-million dollars to meet Harwich and Chatham spending expectations for fiscal 2020. Though they are still awaiting final figures, the Monomoy Regional School Committee heard Thursday that the district may need to eliminate the equivalent of eight-and-a-hal...

Even before it's finalized, the fiscal 2020 Monomoy Regional School District budget is projected to run a deficit of nearly $1 million. Superintendent of Schools Scott Carpenter told the school committee last week that the preliminary budget is up 5.25 percent over this year's $39 million spending plan, but because of several factors, the assessments to Chatham and Harwich will increase by 6.09 percent. The in...

New Harwich Building Permit Fees Effective Feb. 1

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — A number of building permit fees will be increased as of the beginning of February. The increased building fees had drawn a lot of debate among selectmen when they were first considered in August. Building Commissioner Raymond Chesley returned to the board last week and documented the need for a 57 percent increase. “There is a misnomer the revenue the town receives covers the cost of the building de...

FY20 Capital Plan Seeks Nearly $11 Million In Spending

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Selectmen and the finance committee have received a preview of the proposed seven-year capital plan from Town Administrator Christopher Clark with a focus on the FY 2020 spending package. The total spending Clark is recommending is $10,903,235, while the capital outlay committee's number is $10,402,915. The difference, he said, is that he incorporates items under the $50,000 threshold in his plan and...

Harwich Gets Good News On SRF Sewer Loan Rate

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town has received notice from the state Department of Environmental Protection that it has conditional approval for zero percent interest rate financing for the East Harwich sewer construction phase of its comprehensive wastewater management plan, which could save the community more than $16 million over the 30-year payment period. “It's a significant savings,” Town Administrator Christopher Clar...

HARWICH — Though the town is seeking a corresponding drop in the tax rate, property tax valuations in Harwich have increased by nearly 7 percent. That means the valuation of the average single-family home has jumped from $506,403 to about $542,000. “You’ve seen it in the market,” Board of Assessors Chairman Richard Waystack told selectmen last week. To keep the tax levy steady, the town is proposing a tax ra...

ORLEANS — The town's first taste of food trucks at Nauset Beach satisfied stomachs and, to an extent, revenue expectations. Payments didn't match those of the legendary Liam's, which in its last season before succumbing to erosion generated about $115,000 for the town, but came to around $63,000. The town spent $25,000 to install electricity and do other utility work, but with that in place things should loo...

Chatham Debates How To Spend Harwich's Money

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – The first payment by Harwich under the intermunicipal agreement for access to the town's wastewater treatment plant is in the bank. How should it be spent? To lower the tax rate? Pay for capital projects? Or pay down debt? Those and other options are being considered by town officials for the $2,265,000 initial payment under the agreement, which will bring in another $4.5 million in three more pay...

Cash-only Plan At Transfer Station Put On Hold

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – A plan to stop taking cash at the town's transfer station has been put on hold. Officials originally planned to switch to a credit card and checks only system for payments at the transfer station gate as of Nov. 1. It wasn't clear exactly why the move was halted; there was some push back from residents, officials said, but they still hope to move ahead with the plan at some point. Department of Pu...

Debt Exclusion Votes Driving Harwich Tax Increases

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The good news in Town Administrator Christopher Clark's five-year financial plan is that there is no projection of an override in the next fiscal year. But looking out to FY24, spending could outpace revenue by $2.5 million. Clark said he and Finance Director Carol Coppola worked closely in putting together the five-year financial plan that is required by the town charter each year. He made it clear ...

Selectmen Approve Treasurer/Tax Collector's Salary Upgrade

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Treasurer/Tax Collector Amy Bullock will be getting a raise in January and selectmen are hoping that will address what they termed as a “poaching” effort by the town of Dennis to lure her away. After lengthy discussion among selectmen and Town Administrator Christopher Clark last week over a proposal Clark put forward to move Bullock from a M-4, step 9 to a M-5, step 7 pay grade as an “anti-poaching ...

Harwich Tries To Halt Employee Poaching

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town has lost two department heads this past year and a third department head, Treasurer/Tax Collector Amy Bullock, has been offered a position in the town of Dennis. To retain employees, Town Administrator Christopher Clark sees the need to implement some “anti-poaching initiatives.” What often drives the decision to leave a position in one town to take a similar position in another town is comp...