Topics: Municipal Finance

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 ...

CHATHAM – In a wide ranging discussion, officials launched into preparations for the fiscal 2018 budget last week, touching on topics ranging from staffing levels to ways to fund the town's post-employment benefits obligation. If the current fiscal year is anything to go by, Chatham is doing well financially. Overall growth in property values of 3.8 percent plus higher than anticipated revenue kept the tax rat...

ORLEANS — In a display of collegiality, the finance committee eschewed the dais Oct. 13 and sat around a table with representatives of town consultant AECOM to parse a proposed nearly $3.3 million in water quality project spending. Voters will decide the fate of the package Oct. 24 at a special town meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Nauset Middle School; the committee is scheduled to meet there at 5:30 p.m. to vote its rec...

Selectmen Issue FY18 Budget Message To Town Administrator

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The FY18 budget message presented to Town Administrator Christopher Clark by selectmen states clearly the board's directive to stay within the limits of Proposition 2½, and to assist in doing so, the board is discouraging new hires and increased hours for part-time employees. “I view this as the most important document the board of selectmen votes in the year,” Selectman Peter Hughes said. Selectm...