Orleans, MA approves $32.9 million for sewer expansion
While Orleans did not have a contested election on Tuesday, voters had to sift through a series of voting questions that will add to their tax bills.
The largest expense will come from the property tax waiver to help pay for the $32,906,000 sewer collection extension that will protect the Meetinghouse Pond area in Orleans East. That went from 654 to 248. The city hopes 25% of that cost will be covered by a grant from the Cape Cod and the Islands Water Protection Fund. This would reduce the cost to the city to $27 million and the owners would be responsible for 80% of that.
The hope is that Orleans will receive a 0% interest loan from the state to cover most of the initial costs. The city will borrow to repay the remainder of the loan with repayments and tax bills starting in 2028 depending on the completion date.
Homeowners will all pay an additional 21 cents per thousand or $105 per year for a home valued at $500,000. This relatively low cost takes into account a $1.5 million annual grant from the Sewer Stabilization Fund, which is funded by room tax revenues. Those who log into the system will cover the remaining 20% through an improvement assessment based on water use. It will cost an average of $11,266 for those in the Meetinghouse Pond area, or about 480 properties.
Orleans voters approved an operating budget waiver
Voters approved a blanket operating budget waiver of $627,032 per year by a 705 to 182. That’s the exact amount that Nauset Regional School’s assessment exceeded cost projections. That would add $66.99 to the tax bill for a $500,000 home each year, or 13.39 cents per mile of assessment.
Voters passed a debt exclusion by a margin of 658 to 246 for $500,000 to fund design improvements to the stormwater drainage system around Meetinghouse Pond. The project is part of the extension of the sewer network. This would add 10.68 cents per mile to the property tax bill or $53.39 for a property valued at $500,000 during the exclusion.
Increase in tuition fees:Orléans will ask voters for a $600,000 waiver
Finally, voters passed a $1 million debt exclusion for five years of spending on information technology equipment and software by 617 votes to 281. The money will be used to digitize historical documents and records, replace financial and inspection software, replacing hardware and keeping the city’s technology up to date. This will add $106.79 to the tax bill of a $500,000 home or 21.35 cents per $1,000.
Voters also approved a non-binding demand that the chosen board tell Holtec International, the company that owns the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station, not to dump radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay.
Orléans Electoral Commissions and Commission Election Results
Voters returned Michael Herman and Mark Mathison to the selection committee. Others elected were David Lyttle, moderator; John Smith, Board of Health; Josh Stewart, Nauset Regional School Board; and Virginia Stribula for another term on the Orleans school committee.
Maxine Minkoff was also elected to the Orleans school committee. She was principal of Nauset Middle School before retiring and becoming general manager of the Orleans Culture and History Center in 2021.
Pamela Ritchie won one of two vacant seats on the Snow Library Board and there were 95 written entries that will be sorted.