Meetings are held remotely. Go to provincetown-ma.gov and click on the meeting you want to watch.
Thursday, April 22
- Public Pier Corp. Board, 2 p.m.
- Planning Board, 6 p.m.
Monday, April 26
- Select Board, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 27
- Licensing Board, 5:15 p.m.
Wednesday, April 28
- Local Comprehensive Planning Committee, 1 p.m.
- School Committee, 4:30 p.m.
Orleans Housing Asks for $
Town meeting will begin on Saturday, May 1, at 10 a.m. at the St. Peter the Apostle Church parking lot at 11 Prince St., with a rain date of Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m.
Among the 39 articles that may generate interest is Article 9, which asks to use $20,000 in community preservation funds to help the town of Orleans fund a $27.7-million affordable housing project in that town.
The development by Pennrose, which also built the Village at Nauset Green in Eastham, would have 62 affordable units including 10 that are “workforce apartments,” designated for people earning up to 120 percent of area median income.
The Orleans Zoning Board of Appeals granted the comprehensive permit for the project last month, said George Meservey, Orleans town planner. “It’s a good project,” he said. “It takes an empty commercial building that was kind of a white elephant and puts it to good use.”
Pennrose is asking Orleans for $2 million in community preservation funds and $100,000 from Eastham. Five other towns — Harwich, Chatham, Brewster, Truro, and Wellfleet — will be asked to contribute next year, Charlie Adams, regional vice president of Pennrose told the Independent.
The rental units would be on 3.5 acres at 19 West Road and 10 Skaket Corners, where the Cape Cod Five Cents Saving Bank had its headquarters. It would include a renovation of the former bank headquarters as well as the addition of two separate townhouse buildings.
Also on the Provincetown warrant are four debt exclusions for capital improvements, the largest of which is $3.5 million to fix chronic flooding of Court Street. This will raise taxes by $55.85 a year for a property valued at $620,500 — the median house price in town. There is also one override for consideration: $136,000 to create a town diversity, equity, and inclusion office. —K.C. Myers
Not on the Agenda: Harbor Hill
Last year, there was a warrant article at town meeting to transfer $594,500 from the general fund to the Year-Round Market-Rate Rental Housing Trust. It was billed as annual payment on the bonds that the town issued in order to purchase and renovate Harbor Hill, the bankrupt time-share development that the town turned into market-rate rentals.
This year, there won’t be such an article, because the bond payments have been reassigned to the town itself, rather than the trust. Instead of transferring money to the trust, the payments will be made directly from the general fund.
This change was initiated by Robin Craver, who served as town manager for the first half of 2020. At the time, she said the rents at Harbor Hill ought to cover operating costs, but the town ought to cover bond payments.
“When people talk about the debt service like it’s a subsidy, or an addition, they’re counting it twice,” Craver said. “That $595,000 is your mortgage, basically. You’re actually investing in a property.”
Craver argued that special tax revenue, such as the short-term rental tax or the marijuana tax, should not be used for bond payments, as that would suggest a subsidy. Instead, the payments should be made in the same way as for other capital projects, Craver said.
“The debt service to pay the bond for Harbor Hill has been included in the general fund budget, alongside all these other bond payments that we are always making,” confirmed Provincetown’s finance director, Josee Young. “The debt exclusion was voted in February 2017, and you can’t pay something as a debt exclusion unless it’s in the general fund.”
If new borrowing were to become necessary, such as for renovations, roof replacements, or new construction, then it would require a warrant article. Under the current arrangements, however, the existing debt service won’t be coming up for an annual vote anymore. —Paul Benson