Topics: Municipal Finance

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...

CHATHAM — For many seasonal residents, this is the weekend for cleaning up, packing up and heading south for the winter. But before they go, members of the town’s summer residents’ advisory committee gave their annual report to selectmen Monday, staking out positions on a number of key issues facing the town. Committee Chairman Colette Trailor said her group and its subcommittees received detailed informatio...

Selectmen Hold Off On Building Department Fee Increases

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — A presentation made by Building Commissioner Raymond Chesley to selectmen shows building permit fees in the town are 57.2 percent less than the average of the surrounding communities on Cape Cod. The town has been looking at its fee structures in various departments and Chesley, in a public hearing last week on proposed fee increases, pointed out the fees in his department have not been raised since ...

Harwich Community Center To Open On Sundays

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — With a $65 million annual budget, the town has a lot of moving pieces and once in a while a program can get lost in the numbers. That was the case with funding for Sunday openings of the community center. The Sunday opening issue was raised by former selectman Jannell Brown, who in late June emailed Town Administrator Christopher Clark inquiring about the status of Sunday openings. She said she thoug...

Culminating years of work, lawmakers last week passed legislation that would extend the hotel-motel tax to short-term rental properties, boosting town coffers and raising funds for expensive wastewater treatment projects. But one day after the legislative session ended, Gov. Charlie Baker sent the bill back to committee for more work. Despite the current uncertainty about the bill’s future, most agree that the...

Selectmen Considering A Fraud Risk Assessment Policy

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town is putting in place a fraud risk assessment policy that is committed to deterrence, detection and correction of misconduct and dishonesty. The town has been without such a policy and putting one in place has long been a recommendation of the town's auditors. “There haven't been any problems that are generating the policy. It's a protective measure,” said Finance Director Carol Coppola. She s...

Town Will Move Ahead With Green Vehicle Purchase

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The second reading of the town fuel efficient vehicle policy was approved Monday night without a hitch, but efforts by the administration to put the policy in motion required exhaustive debate. The policy is part of the town's effort to implement the Green Communities program approved by town meeting in May. Two of the five criteria for the program were approved in town meeting and the town fuel effi...

CHATHAM – One of the longest-serving members of the finance committee in recent memory is stepping down. Roslyn Coleman opted not to be reappointed after 18 years on the finance panel, said Moderator William Litchfield, whose is charged with appointing finance committee members. “Roz served with great dedication and devotion over the course of six terms on the finance committee, which is at least a modern d...

Selectmen Support Green Vehicle Policy But Stall Purchase

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — In an effort to implement the Green Communities program approved by town meeting in May, selectmen approved the initial reading of a fuel efficiency vehicle replacement policy Monday, but stalled when the administration sought to put the first vehicle on the road. Town meeting adopted the Stretch Energy Code and put in place a bylaw for large scale ground mounted photovoltaic arrays in May, said Town...