ANNUAL TOWN MEETING – CPC PROJECTS
By Gregory T. Federspiel
With just over three weeks to go it is time to help voters prepare for the decisions they will be making. The ATM will take place on Monday, June 21 starting at 6:30 on the athletic field at the Middle-High School. The rain date is Wednesday, June 23. The Town Annual Report and the Finance Committee Report containing all the warrant articles will be delivered to all residents by June 13th. The warrant is available now on the Town’s web site.
Articles up for debate/votes include the standard budgetary articles – town operating and capital, school operating and debt service, funding for the vocational school, our OPEB trust, and the Park and Recreation revolving fund (program fees collected and expended for the programs.) We also have the annual list of proposed Community Preservation projects as recommended by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC.)
Each year, taxpayers pay a 1.5% surcharge on their property tax bill that helps fund the Community Preservation account. We also receive an annual match from the State – it started out as a 100% match but is now in the 30% range. Annually we receive around $500,000 in CP funds. Unspent funds remain available for a subsequent year.
The CPC receives applications for projects in three categories – Community Housing, Open Space & Recreation, and Historic Preservation. At least 10% of the funds received must be allocated to each of these categories. Up to 5% of annual funding can be allocated toward administrative expenses. For next year, the CPC is again requesting $20,000 for administrative expenses.
11 projects are proposed for CP funding in FY22. These 11 have been endorsed by the CPC, the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee. Proposed projects include:
- Sweeney Park: Design/engineering for new field layouts. The request for $68,375 proposed to be matched by a $70,000 General Government capital request.
- Landscape Restoration for all Parks and Tucks Point: This $20,000 request is for landscaping improvements at various town parks.
- Pickleball Courts at Sweeney Park: $75,000 is requested to convert the old skate park into new pickle ball courts.
- Automatic Defibrillators for Parks: The $15,000 request will allow the purchase of life-saving defibrillators for town parks.
- Singing Beach Bathroom preservation: Renovation work at the bathhouse is proposed for a total of $5000.
- Title Research/Survey Work Western Woods : This is a continuation of work CP dollars have funded previously. There remain parcels whose owners are unknown in this part of town where we hope to preserve most of the land. $25,000 request
- Friends of Manchester Trees – Tree Restoration: The request for $11,000 is targeted toward new tree plantings at Singing Beach and Tucks Point.
- Affordable Housing Trust Project Funding: Voters have been approving funds to go to the work of the Trust for the last few years. This year’s request is for $200,000.
- Historic Restoration of Library Landscaping: $15,000 is proposed to restore some of the historic landscaping at the Library.
- Morss Pier Engineering Study for restoration : The Harbormaster has received a grant from the state to develop plans to restore some of the former floats that came off the pier. Our local match is $33,000, which is the request for this project.
- Tuck’s Point Public Access Restoration: In a similar vein, the Harbormaster has received a much larger grant to rebuild the floats off the Rotunda. Our needed local match of the roughly $800,000 project is $135,629 which is the request for CP funds.
All told a total of $623,004 in CP projects is proposed with all but roughly a $100,000 coming from previous year receipts that have accumulated. The projects will be presented and voted on at the upcoming Annual Town Meeting.