Topics: Municipal Finance

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...

Davis: Census Shortfall Could Cost Chatham $144M

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — If you haven’t completed the U.S. Census yet, Selectmen Chairman Shareen Davis has 144 million reasons for you to do so. “It is important to fill out the census not for today but for the future,” she said. The town stands to lose $2,400 per resident who does not answer the census. In all, 6,000 year-round residents bring the town $14.4 million in federal funding annually, amounting to $144 million ...

ORLEANS — The winds have shifted for the town’s ship of state, and it’s time to trim the sails. Next month’s special town meeting is an opportunity for a mid-course correction that could help deal with even rougher seas ahead. Voters will be asked to increase fees and, for the first time, institute a $25 residential beach parking sticker. That measure has been rejected by town meeting in the past, but the beac...

Orleans Eyes Fee Increases To Close Budget Gap

By: Ed Maroney

ORLEANS — With a million-dollar operating budget shortfall forecast for the fiscal year beginning July 2021, the select board and other officials are taking a hard look at expenses and revenues in a series of fiscal stability workshops. Last week, the focus was on fees the town charges for its services, and the potential for asking October’s special town meeting to make some changes that can take effect as early ...

ORLEANS — At an extraordinary online meeting of the town’s and regional school system’s leadership July 22, Nauset Superintendent Tom Conrad pledged that he and his colleagues will be “good partners and find ways to help each other in terms of saving precious dollars we have coming in from the community.” “We’re anxious to brainstorm with others and find ways to find savings to still serve educational needs ...

HARWICH – School budget planning is typically a challenging yearly task, but the planning of the FY21 budget for the Monomoy Regional School District has been further complicated by COVID closures and reschedules, forcing the district to opt for a one-twelfth budget as administrators await funding approval from town meetings. With Chatham’s town meeting not scheduled until June 22 and Harwich having postponed ...

A Projected Shortfall Of $4.1 Million In FY21 HARWICH — Selectmen warned department heads to expect revenue shortfalls going into FY21 and urged town departments to come together in creative ways to continue to provide services to the community. Board of Selectmen Chairman Larry Ballantine said while this year has been difficult, next year will be even more difficult. Selectmen made it clear, however, that ...

ORLEANS - Town meeting may be asked to add $12 million to the $47 million it authorized last year to complete the downtown sewer system and build a treatment plant and effluent disposal system. Five bids each were received for the sewer collection system and for the treatment plant and disposal system. Robert B. Our, of Harwich, was apparent low bidder for the sewer collection system and Daniel O'Connell's Son...

CHATHAM — Though it’s still too early to predict the exact financial impact of COVID-19 on the next town budget, officials are bracing for significant reductions and are finding new ways to trim spending and lighten the burden on taxpayers. Even so, the town's property tax rate will increase for the first time in three years. At last Thursday’s board meeting, selectmen reviewed the latest revision of the fi...

Selectmen Seek State Approval To Deficit Spend

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — Selectmen Tuesday afternoon voted to send a formal request to the division of local services in the state department of revenue to allow the town to deficit spend up to $250,000 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in FY2020. Because of the state of emergency declared by Gov. Charlie Baker on March 10, the town anticipates extraordinary expenses, according to the letter, which will be sent to Mary Jane Handy...