Chatham Officials Look Ahead to Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

CHATHAM –Chatham officials met on October 15th to look ahead to the FY2020 budget as the fiscal year begins on July 1st, 2019.

Selectmen, the finance committee and members of the Monomoy Regional School committee attended the meeting and discussed who would set the directives for the budget.

During the summit, the officials were given an overview of the town’s financial situation ahead of planning for the budget.

The estimated free cash in FY2020 is $4 million and although selectmen agreed to use those funds to pay down the town’s debt, they also understood that there is a number of capital needs that they are faced with.

The money comes from the Town of Harwich’s first payment under the intermunicipal agreement for access to Chatham’s wastewater treatment plant.

“There are potential opportunities of using the payment to pay down debt whether it’s the same debt or previous debt,” said Town Manager Jill Goldsmith.

Although the money goes into the town’s free cash account and can be spent on whatever officials desire, any expenditures will require approval by town meeting.

“There’s some discussion about whether we should sequester it to wastewater-related debt, a purely financial perspective, the optimized outcome would be to pay down the highest-cost debt,” said Finance Committee Chairman Stephen Daniel.

Finance Director Alex Heilala reported that the town’s finances are in good shape heading into planning, with a total taxable evaluation of more than $7 billion and a $4.85 tax rate.

Overall tax spending for FY2020 is expected at over $41.6 million, which is a 1.6 percent increase over the $41 million voted in last May’s annual town meeting.

Although the money goes into the town’s free cash account and can be spent on whatever officials desire, any expenditures will require approval by town meeting.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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