Topics: Municipal Finance

Goldsmith Proposes $32.7M Operating Budget

By: Alan Pollock

Selectmen: Focus More On Project Management CHATHAM — Town Manager Jill Goldsmith has proposed a $32,733,626 operating budget for fiscal 2021. Designed to keep the current level of services, the budget is up nearly 6 percent over the current year’s spending plan and includes the equivalent of five new full-time employees. Selectmen praised Goldsmith and Finance Director Alix Heilala for the budget, and se...

Under-65 Tax Credit Exemption Gets Selectmen's Support

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town has generous tax exemption programs for residents over 65 years of age, veterans, and people who are sight-impaired, but there is little in the way of programs to help younger families and residents who are facing financial hardship. Board of Assessors Chairman Richard Waystack raised the issue of establishing a hardship exemption tax credit for people under 65 years of age during a presenta...

Municipal Solid Waste Disposal Fees Escalate

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The lack of landfill space and other means of disposing of municipal solid waste in Massachusetts is having a major financial impact on communities. That was made perfectly clear Monday night when selectmen approved two one-year contracts with per-ton rate increases of nearly $20. “Recycling markets have degenerated and we have more trash than we have outlets,” DPW Director Lincoln Hooper told select...

Harwich FD Quint Purchase Could Save Taxpayers $900K

By: Alan Pollock

HARWICH — In the next few years, voters will be asked to fund a number of big-ticket capital projects, but the funding requests from the fire department will be a bit lower than originally expected. Facing the need for a new ladder truck and a new pumper, the department will instead seek to buy a "quint," which can perform both functions at a fire scene. The move could save taxpayers around $900,000 over the cost...

ORLEANS — Fine-tooth combs were the order of the day as the finance committee delved into the details of the Nauset Regional High School building project last week. Its guests included the chairmen of the building committee and the regional school committee as well as Superintendent Tom Conrad. Renovation and construction at the half-century-old Eastham campus could cost up to $140 million, with the district’s...

HARWICH — Thanks to the generosity of two unrelated private donors, the town of Harwich now holds the keys for a new police motorcycle and a council on aging van. Selectmen voted last week to accept both gifts and to extend the town’s thanks. The senior center van was provided by Jay Kavanaugh of Cape Destinations. Council on Aging Director Emily Mitchell said her department leases two vans from the Cape Cod R...

New Fire Substation Taking Shape

By: Alan Pollock

EAST HARWICH — Standing in sharp contrast to the aging building it will replace, the new fire substation in East Harwich is bright, spacious and modern, and it should be ready to open in time for a Nov. 30 dedication ceremony. The apparatus bay has room for two ambulances, two engines and two other vehicles. ...

Restaurant Unlikely At East Harwich Fire Substation

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Town staff has recommended against locating a restaurant in the former East Harwich fire substation, a proposal raised recently by a local restaurateur who sought to lease the building next to the new fire station. Town Administrator Christopher Clark said he has been approached by the owner of the 400 East restaurant about leasing the soon-to-be-demolished East Harwich fire substation. Clark said th...

ORLEANS — An override of the tax levy limit in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022, will be needed to maintain the current level of services, Town Administrator John Kelly told the board of selectmen Oct. 2. With declining revenue from the beaches and hotel/motel tax receipts being shifted to a stabilization fund to help pay wastewater costs, and anticipated higher costs for factors such as benefits and u...

Summer Residents Urge Prudence In Capital Spending

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — If the town doesn’t carefully prioritize spending on big-ticket items, it will be stretched thin when it comes time to borrow for upcoming phases of the multi-year, multi-million dollar wastewater project. That was the message delivered to selectmen by the summer residents’ advisory committee. Advisory committee Chairman Jill MacDonald said the committee supports a plan to prioritize large capital ...

Peake: State May Provide Disaster Relief Money Municipal expenditures related to the July 23 tornado are not likely to reach the threshold required for federal reimbursement, local officials say. Qualifying expenditures in Harwich total $1,256,200, according to Town Administrator Christopher Clark, and slightly more than $438,000 in Chatham, according to Finance Director Alix Heilala. Yarmouth reported $4...

ORLEANS — The town had hoped to use part of the former Nauset Knoll Motel property above Nauset Beach for parking during its planned retreat from the town lot below due to erosion. This summer season has indeed seen parking at the site, but very much not the way the town wanted. The new lease holders for what is now the Nauset Beach Inn have put up signage inviting beach goers to take a right just before the t...

CHATHAM – Between fiscal years 2018 and 2019, use of the town's online bill paying system increased by 60 percent. The figure is likely to increase with the introduction of a new system that allows people to pay more bills online with fewer fees. Beginning with the next round of water bills, scheduled to be issued in the next week or two, residents and property owners will be able to pay free of charge with el...

Selectmen Hold Off On Treasure Chest Sticker Fee

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — While selectmen have approved an increase in a couple of disposal area fees, the board balked at placing a $10 fee on stickers for the Treasure Chest, the town's swap shop. The board also agreed to hold the line on the price of residential disposal area permits for this year. The proposed $10 fee for the Treasure Chest sticker drew debate last week, but questions were raised about the nature of the f...

HARWICH — The town and Monomoy Regional School District received good news this week from bond rating firm S&P Global, which upgraded the town's credit rating to AAA. That could mean substantial costs savings on borrowing. The change is particularly welcome with the town embarking on a multi-million dollar sewer project in the coming years. “Having the AAA rating ensures that the town will enjoy low int...

CHATHAM – Voters spent some $60 million at the annual town meeting, and while the major expenditures received coverage last week, there were numerous smaller appropriations that didn't make the news but nonetheless deserve attention. There were also several articles that were not acted upon, including changes to the Monomoy Regional School district agreement. Although the changes mostly involved removing referen...