Growing Debt A Concern
I voted against the COA project for the following reason:
Page 24 of the 2023 Chatham warrant shows debt service (yearly interest payments on money borrowed) as the second largest yearly expense at $7,148,305. By comparison public safety is the largest expense at $7.8 million per year.
The town of Chatham’s interest payments are estimated to be $7,600,000 in 2024, an increase of $500,000 vs. 2023. Currently interest payments alone represent 19 percent of the town’s operating budget. The amount and percent of interest payments continues to grow and are on track to be the single largest operating expense by 2025. This is a disturbing and unsustainable trend.
None of the above calculations include the new interest on the $30 million-plus in additional borrowings approved at the town meeting on May 6. That will result in another estimated $930,000 per year just in additional interest that has to be paid. Again, this is a disturbing and unsustainable trend.
It’s not tyranny and disdain for seniors when a no vote on a $10.1 million dollar project is a yes vote for the long-term financial security of the town of Chatham and all its residents.
Correcting Respite Program Misinformation
I have witnessed many comments recently regarding the “wait list” for Chatham residents to attend the Rock Harbor Respite program at the Orleans Senior Center.
I made a conscious decision not to comment publicly to allow for the public discourse to occur about building a new facility for the Chatham COA. However, as director of the Orleans COA, which operates the Rock Harbor Respite Program, I want to clarify the facts as there seems to be misinformation, and those who know me know I am mindful of data.
The Orleans COA operates the Rock Harbor Respite program as a regional adult supportive daycare program for older adults. This is an incredibly meaningful program to families as it provides essential respite for caregivers providing 24/7 care for loved ones. It is an important service modality on the continuum of care for older adults trying to age in place for as long as possible. We have formal intermunicipal agreements in place and the municipalities that participate subsidize the cost of attendance for their residents, and the program is a successful example of a regional municipal effort.
All program participants are provided with a complimentary trial day to assess eligibility and allow for caregiver discussions with staff to help ensure a smooth transition. The application and “onboarding” process typically takes approximately four to six weeks. The longest “wait” in the last three years has been 10 weeks, and that was in 2021 when we were complying with strict post- pandemic operating guidelines and were the only program of its kind to reopen on Cape. The average “wait” to enter the program for the last year has been four weeks. The only reason anybody has been turned away was when the applicant did not meet the eligibility guidelines. This year we have provided service to nine Chatham families, and last year it was eight. There is currently no “wait list” for the program.
Supportive daycare programs are incredibly financially vulnerable programs. Since the pandemic, more than 100 supportive daycare programs have closed permanently statewide. In fact, the “medical model” programs on Cape operated by the VNA closed, and similar programs were eliminated at three Cape COAs. Our Rock Harbor Respite program is successful and cherished by the families we serve. Our staff work too hard at balancing the administrative intricacies of this incredibly valuable program to allow the misinformation to continue.
Judi Wilson, director
Orleans Council on Aging and Senior Center
What A Relief!
Any person or tourists in the Chatham-Harwich area that are constipated only need to travel back and forth on Route 137 a few times and you’ll be good to go!
Some town projects take time to work out.
Interfaith Association Statement On Antisemitism
The Nauset Interfaith Association (nausetinterfaith.org) members are deeply concerned by the increase in antisemitic incidents along with other expressions of hate. These have occurred throughout New England — including here on Cape Cod. The NIA, representing clergy and laity from 24 diverse congregations on the Lower and Outer Cape, is committed to interfaith relationships and justice and equity among all people. We agree with Dr. King’s thought that “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." In that spirit, the NIA board of directors has unanimously approved the following statement:
The Nauset Interfaith Association condemns incidents, threats and explicit expressions of antisemitism around the country. These actions are concerning and saddening, and we stand firm in denouncing hate and violence against the Jewish community. There is no place in our society for any form of antisemitism and hate speech.
We stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters in opposition to antisemitism and will strive to make the Cape a safe and accepting place for all. As an organization we work to ensure justice and equality for people of all backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, identities and experiences.
We will continue to hold ourselves accountable to speak out against discrimination, racism and hate and to advocate for and effect change in furtherance of an equitable, peaceful and just future. We honor and hold sacred the dignity and humanity of all people. (Approved May 11, 2023.)
We invite all persons to join us in this commitment. For more information, contact Edgar Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Rod MacDonald
The Nauset interfaith Association
Response To Snarky Note
This is in reply to a snarky note put on my car window in a handicapped parking space at Stop & Shop in East Harwich recently, which read: "Not being able to read is not a handicap."
Well, I do have a legal tag which slides down into the window and is not always visible. I received it after being in a Boston hospital for a brain aneurysm (hemorrhagic stroke) with three-weeks intensive care (eight-hour surgery to save my life) after airlift by helicopter, then rehab and physical therapy for many months. I have severe osteoarthritis with a compressed spinal fracture (ski-lift injury) and several more, also swollen toes making it painful to walk. I'm an 87-year-old recent widow and find the space a necessity. As for reading ability, I have a BS in journalism/English (also an MS) and read mostly political, historical and biographical books, each about 500 or more pages, thanks to my regular eye shots for wet macular degeneration in both eyes. I have written for daily newspapers (Hingham reporter) and features for the New York Times (Westchester edition) and published a coffee table-sized book on Cape Cod history. I have also been a PR director for a New York college and a private school writing their magazines etc., and also wrote/edited Wine Magazine, London, UK and local magazines plus many other writing/editing jobs.
The saying is: "Judge not, lest thee be judged." I agree with the new Seattle promotion, "Be Kind!" I think that's needed here. Often I have seen cars without their tags, but never notified them.
"Our world will change for the better if more people are lighting candles rather than blowing them out.”
Utilities Indifferent To Pole Problem
Recent Chatham Select Board meeting with utility reps displayed the indifference to the seriousness of unfinished and open-ended pole replacement and line equipment transfer to new poles. For example, recent Morton Road pole replacement resulted in sawn-off tops of unsafe dilapidated poles, apparently with no intention to complete and coordinate full transfer of line equipment in a timely manner. Sadly, utility company reps disputed the need to promptly remedy this unfinished, unsightly spectacle.