Topics: Municipal Finance

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...

Monomoy Budget Up 5.49%, Chatham's Share Increases

By: Alan Pollock , William F. Galvin

Superintendent Scott Carpenter has presented his draft fiscal 2018 spending plan for the Monomoy Regional School District, including an operating budget that's up nearly 5.5 percent over the current budget. The $38,115,065 draft spending plan includes a $35.5 million operating budget, plus $2.6 million in debt service and $305,000 in capital expenses. All tolled, it would be a 4.8 percent increase over this ye...

Chatham Employees Picket Over Lack Of Contract

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – Several town employees handed out leaflets and wore placards outside of last week's special town meeting to draw attention to the fact that they've been without a contract for nearly two years. “We just want people to know the truth,” said Chatham Municipal Employees Association President Gary J. Kaser, who also picketed outside last Tuesday's board of selectmen's meeting. “Bottom line...this affe...

Goldsmith Proposes $30.12M Operating Budget For FY18

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Town Manager Jill Goldsmith presented selectmen Tuesday with a balanced, level-service operating budget for FY18 that's comfortably under the Proposition 2½ levy limit. At $30,124,872, it represents an increase of 3.89 percent over the current year's spending plan. The figure doesn't include the cost of educating the town's children, which adds approximately $9.3 million in assessments to the Monom...

Proposed FY18 Budget Squeezes Under 2½ Cap

By: Ed Maroney

ORLEANS — Town Administrator John Kelly's recommended operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 includes the maximum 2.5 percent increase allowed by state law. “We're at a crossroads,” Kelly told the board of selectmen Jan. 18. “There is nothing left in the operating budget that we can reduce to maintain 2½ unless we reduce staff. At the end of the day, we will have to talk about what services we...

CHATHAM – For eight years, Karolyn McClelland has lived with the possibility of losing her home due to what officials acknowledge was a “perfect storm” of mistakes and miscommunications. Next week, special town meeting voters will be asked to fix the situation by transferring funds to cover back taxes on McClelland's Beach Plum Road property, taxes that would have already been paid in full had the property bee...

CHATHAM – It's been a long struggle for Dale Eldredge. A native who graduated from Chatham High School in 1993, Eldredge spent a dozen years working to acquire the title to a lot on Stony Hill Road owned by his family. Originally owned by his grandmother, the property's ownership was shared by a number of aunts and uncles; Eldredge had inherited his share when his father passed away. Over the years he was able...

Town Finances: Healthy And Getting Healthier

By: Ed Maroney

ORLEANS — With significant borrowing for capital projects on the horizon, there was good news for the town from its independent auditor last week. Tony Roselli, managing partner of Roselli, Clark & Associates, said a recent audit and a conversation with Standard & Poor's indicated that the town would maintain its top-rank AAA bond rating. “You've managed to increase your reserves the last three years...

Harwich Names Former Orleans Finance Director To Interim Post

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The board of selectmen approved the recommendation of Town Administrator Christopher Clark to appoint David Withrow as interim town accountant/finance director through March 31. Withrow will serve in the interim capacity while the town conducts a search for a new full-time town accountant/finance director to replace Andrew Gould, who announce his resignation a couple of weeks ago and will be taking a...

CHATHAM – A $103,771 overdraft for police and fire overtime in fiscal 2016 caught the attention of the state department of revenue, which told the town in no uncertain terms that this sort of deficit spending isn't allowed. “I expect that this will not become an annual event,” Marie Jane Handy, director of accounts at the DOR, wrote in a bolded paragraph in a Sept. 22 letter to Town Manager Jill Goldsmith. “I ...