Harwich FY19 Budget Proposed

HARWICH – The Town Administrator of Harwich, Christopher Clark, has had his proposed 2019 fiscal budget approved by the Board of Selectmen. The board has given the approximately $66 million plan to the Finance Committee for review.

Clark did express concern about the town’s borrowing, expenditures and current situation. “We have voted a lot of substantial debt. That debt will have a tax impact as we develop these budgets.”

During their meeting, the board heard from several department heads and addressed their questions and concerns. The Department of Natural Resources Director, Fire Chief, Public Library Director and Department of Public Works superintendent all had their say during nearly two hours of presentations.

Although many who spoke were unhappy that their budgetary request had been cut back or denied, Clark is proud of the resulting balanced budget. “The total amount is $65,371,876. The spending is a little below that and we left a minor surplus. The mission has been accomplished.”

The operating budget in the plan represents a 3.3 percent increase to 23.8 million, which will not require a Proposition 2 & 1/2 override.

The plan includes two new firefighters, one new police officer, and creates an information technology position.

Due to the first payments on the Saquatucket Harbor projects, the wastewater treatment deal with Chatham, and the design of the sewer system in East Harwich, debt service jumped more than 80%. The town could become eligible for better rates if they can bump their current AA plus bond rating up to AAA.

The finance committee now examines the proposed budget with a fine-tooth comb before returning it with its recommendations to the board of selectmen. Residents get the final say on the budget when it is voted on at Annual Town Meeting in May.

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