Topics: Municipal Finance

ORLEANS — England and America have been called “two countries divided by a common language.” One might say Chatham and Orleans are two towns divided by a common beach. Geography has made Orleans the gatekeeper for Chatham’s North Beach, aka the southern reach of Nauset Beach, and that has led to disagreements over administration and finances. Each town sells resident oversand vehicle stickers to its own citi...

Selectmen Back Regional School Budget

By: William F. Galvin

Discussions Continue On Elementary School Costs HARWICH — After selectmen threatened several times to reject the Monomoy Regional School District FY22 budget, the board voted 4-0 last week to support the $41,561,134 package. The school budget is up $300,000 over the present year, a 0.73 percent increase. However, Harwich’s share is $27,361,049, a $541,002 increase, or 2.02 percent. Chatham's contribution of...

ORLEANS — The heavy cruiser FY 22 General Operating Budget is being readied for final review by town meeting in May. This year, it will be accompanied by five smaller vessels, a flotilla of enterprise funds with their own budgets running mostly on user fees. That change, intended to reveal more transparently the actual cost of services such as the transfer station and the beaches, is part of a draft warrant of...

Select Board: Time Is Now For New Senior Center

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Some have argued that a pandemic is the wrong time for the town to take on a big-ticket capital project like building a new senior center. On Tuesday, the town's project team and the select board argued that, in fact, the timing couldn’t be better. The board voted unanimously to bring a request for $8,395,555 to build a new council on aging on a parcel of donated land at 1610 Main St., West C...

HARWICH — Selectmen were pleased to learn that the Monomoy Regional School District reduced its proposed fiscal 2022 spending plan by approximately $300,000, but board members are still not happy with the town’s share of the regional school district budget. Selectmen recently made it clear that they planned to vote against the school budget without some form of mitigation related to the growing disparity in th...

Proposed Budget Will Include Two New Firefighters

By: Alan Pollock

FinCom Identifies Housing As Town’s Top Priority CHATHAM — In the spirit of holding the line on expenses during the pandemic, Fire Chief David DePasquale did not ask for new full-time firefighters in the fiscal 2022 town budget, even though he’s made it clear that the extra hands are needed. Last week, having heard that the finance committee could support the idea, the select board asked Town Manager Jill Go...

HARWICH — Property owners made it clear to selectmen Monday night that the time is not right to place additional taxes on rental units. Selectmen were weighing a couple of draft warrant articles for the annual town meeting warrant that could have increased rental taxes by 2 to 5 percent, but decided to table the proposal for now and take it up again at a later time. Room rental and home rental taxes here are c...

ORLEANS — With a structural deficit no longer looming in next fiscal year’s budget, the select board considered last week what programs and services could be added back into the spending plan. A projected unused tax levy capacity of $640,000 allowed the board to develop a list of potential additions ranging from increased hours for a part-time video technician to creation of a part-time recreation coordinato...

ORLEANS — Is it worth it to the citizens of the four member towns of the Nauset school system to pay for a revamped high school that will serve their children but also hundreds of students from other Cape communities which will not help pay for the project? That’s a question that has caused deep divisions in Brewster, Eastham, Orleans, and Wellfleet, including split votes on a couple of finance committee...

Harwich Bears Brunt Of Monomoy School Budget Hike

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — There are still a lot of variables, but Monomoy Regional School District Superintendent Scott Carpenter provided selectmen with a draft FY22 budget Monday containing an overall 1.5 percent increase over this year. Harwich’s share of the budget, however, is projected to increase between 2.9 and 3.2 percent. The student population gap between Chatham and Harwich is becoming a major issue. On Monday sel...

HARWICH — There was a sense of urgency expressed by selectmen Monday night when Monomoy Regional Schools Superintendent Scott Carpenter came before the board to discuss the growing inequities in the per pupil budgets in the district's elementary schools. In the past decade the Harwich Elementary School student population has decreased by 12 percent. At the Chatham Elementary School the enrollment has declined ...

ORLEANS — “Nearly every usable piece of land owned by the Town of Orleans is being used for a public purpose,” Director of Planning and Community Development George Meservey reported in a letter to Town Administrator John Kelly last month. At the select board’s Nov. 18 meeting, the planner reviewed three of those properties: the former American Legion Hall across from town hall at 139 Main St., the former highway...

CHATHAM — Each year, selectmen and the town manager begin the process of creating a budget by setting their goals and objectives, meeting in a special Saturday session. This year’s session yielded a list of priorities shaped in part by the pandemic. “Seeing that COVID-19 was impacting a lot of our ability to move forward with our work that we had been thinking about doing, we did review our established mission...

HARWICH — Financial leadership and stability, implementation of the comprehensive wastewater management plan and the creation of affordable and workforce housing were identified as priority goals for the coming year by the board of selectmen. Selectmen approved five goals on Oct. 19, also including as priorities economic development and working with the interim town administrator, financial director and reside...

Selectmen Push For 2 Percent Budget Increase In FY22

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Having just put a FY21 budget in place, selectmen on Monday began shaping the message for funding the next fiscal year’s spending plan. The message contained in the draft proposal stated the desire to stay within the spending limits of Proposition 2½, but that was not strong enough for members of the board. “Selectmen desire a budget that is within the Proposition 2½ limits without the need for a gen...

Harwich Town Meeting Finally Approves Operating Budgets

By: William F. Galvin

Special District, Multi-family Update OK'd HARWICH — It was long awaited, but residents finally got the opportunity to act on the annual town meeting warrant in an outdoor setting on Saturday. Five operating budgets were approved totaling $68, 957,862, a 1.4 percent decrease from last year's budget. Voters also approved unanimously a zoning amendment that creates a West Harwich Special District with a focus...