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Town portion of 2020-21 budget slated for May 27 adoption

The Town Council is scheduled to vote on a $16.8 million budget for town services for 2020-21 at a special meeting Wednesday, May 27, 2020. The meeting will be held by Zoom videoconference beginning at 7 p.m. Links for joining the meeting will be published with the agenda. [meetings calendar]

Councilors voted unanimously to schedule to vote following a public hearing May 18.

Also scheduled for adoption is a $1.5 million county assessment, and a slate of special-fund budgets with expenditures of $3.8 million and revenues of $4 million. The school budget will be considered at another meeting June 15, with a separate hearing anticipated June 8.

The proposal for town services defers a number of capital improvement projects in light of the coronavirus pandemic. "All projects in the FY2021 capital investment plan were reviewed by level of need, effective age and lifespan, event horizon for planned projects, and all projects based on hierarchy of needs, with public safety considered highest priority," said Town Manager Matthew Sturgis, in a memo to the council.

In all the budget defers $822,000 in capital projects, but many are or will be "shovel-ready" if grant funding, federal infrastructure stimulus or public-safety grants become available, Sturgis said.

The largest are a $370,000 Kettle Cove drainage project; Fire Department replacement breathing apparatus, $200,000; street light conversion to LED, $200,000; Shore Road rehabilitation planning and engineering, $163,000; and, the municipal revaluation, $139,000. Most were deferred to fiscal 2021-22, including the replacement breathing apparatus, which is certified meets current safety requirements.

Jamie Garvin, chair of the council's finance committee, thanked town staff for revamping the budget proposal after the coronavirus emerged, "as well as a ... virtually daily exercise of trying to see what other savings could be achieved, all with the Cape taxpayers in mind."

"I know that these kinds of exercises aren't easy, and sometimes hard decisions have to be made, and appreciate all the work that you all have put in to it," he said.

Proposed budgets for town, school and county services for next year total $46.8 million and pose an overall tax rate of $19.86, up 0.9 percent over this year. [pro forma summary].

The town and county portions account for $4.78 of the proposed rate, reflecting a 2.25 percent drop in the rate for non-school services.