Topics: Municipal Finance

Even before it's finalized, the fiscal 2020 Monomoy Regional School District budget is projected to run a deficit of nearly $1 million. Superintendent of Schools Scott Carpenter told the school committee last week that the preliminary budget is up 5.25 percent over this year's $39 million spending plan, but because of several factors, the assessments to Chatham and Harwich will increase by 6.09 percent. The in...

New Harwich Building Permit Fees Effective Feb. 1

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — A number of building permit fees will be increased as of the beginning of February. The increased building fees had drawn a lot of debate among selectmen when they were first considered in August. Building Commissioner Raymond Chesley returned to the board last week and documented the need for a 57 percent increase. “There is a misnomer the revenue the town receives covers the cost of the building de...

FY20 Capital Plan Seeks Nearly $11 Million In Spending

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Selectmen and the finance committee have received a preview of the proposed seven-year capital plan from Town Administrator Christopher Clark with a focus on the FY 2020 spending package. The total spending Clark is recommending is $10,903,235, while the capital outlay committee's number is $10,402,915. The difference, he said, is that he incorporates items under the $50,000 threshold in his plan and...

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...