As we prepare for Annual Town Meeting on April 3, the Town Manager would like to highlight some important Town priorities on the Town Meeting Warrant for voters.
First is how the Town plans to provide for the immediate and future Fire/EMS needs of our community.
- Article 2: FY2024 Operating Budget
- The Select Board, Town Administration, Fire Department staff, and Lower Cape Ambulance Association (LCAA) all agree that the best path forward is to negotiate a new 3-year contract where LCAA would provide the same level of service to the Town that they are providing now. The contract with LCAA would increase by about 10%, bringing our ambulance contract total to $1,120,000 for FY24. However, it’s still important that Provincetown begin the transition to a full-time combination Fire Department, one where we have some full-time Firefighters. Under this plan – in addition to extending the contract with LCAA – the Town recommends that we begin hiring 8 full-time Firefighter-EMT/Firefighter-Paramedics in the FY24 budget. This investment will not only further enhance EMS coverage in Provincetown this summer, but it also recognizes the need to plan for the Town’s future EMS/Fire needs.
- This year’s budget includes an operating override to cover the costs to begin a transition to a full-time combination Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department. Under this plan, Lower Cape Ambulance Association (LCAA) will continue to provide ambulance services and the Fire Department will hire 8 new full-time employees who will be Firefighter/EMTs or Firefighter Paramedics, which will enhance EMS coverage in the Town. The funding is contingent on the passage of a Proposition 2 and ½ override vote in accordance with MGL ch59, section 21C(m) and shall be used to fund additional service for fiscal year 2024. The override will also need to pass at the May 9, 2023 Annual Town Election. The additional funds needed in the FY24 budget via an operating override totals $1,058,476.
Next are the important Town sponsored housing-related Articles 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 36 on the Warrant. While these won’t solve our housing crisis alone, together they will help make important progress toward providing opportunities for more year-round rental housing in town, getting workers to and from town, and designing future programs to add to Provincetown's housing stock.
- Article 11: Supplemental Funding for 3 Jerome Smith Road Housing Development
- To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds $2,250,000 to be used to subsidize the Town’s portion of The Community Builder’s development of 65 affordable and community housing units at 3 Jerome Smith Road, pursuant to a grant agreement between the Town and the developer, which shall include an affordable housing restriction to be held by the Town; or to take any other action relative thereto.
- This will transfer $1,650,000 from excess funds within the Tourism Fund and $600,000 from free cash to cover the Town’s agreed upon contribution to the 3 Jerome Smith Road Project (former VFW site).
- Article 12. Construction Funding for Firehouse #2 – 189 Commercial Street
- To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds $325,000 to be used to hire a contractor to convert a portion of the former Firehouse #2 building on the Town owned property located at 189 Commercial Street to housing; or to take any other action relative thereto.
- This will fund the construction costs for rehabilitating and converting the second floor of the former Firehouse #2 building to housing. Depending on the configuration, the building is anticipated to accommodate 1-2 housing units. The public bathrooms on the ground floor will remain.
- Article 14: Funding for a Transportation Pilot Project for Provincetown Workers
- To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds $100,000 to be used to fund a pilot project, led and organized by the Town in partnership with our local business community, to improve transportation options for Provincetown workers; or to take any other action relative thereto.
- This will fund a pilot program that would be the basis for a public-private partnership between the Town of Provincetown and local businesses to provide early morning (6:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.) and late night (10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.) transportation options. Due to the lack of seasonal housing, many people need to live outside of Provincetown. The CCRTA does run to the Town, but there are transportation gaps in the current bus schedule that make it hard for workers to get transportation. This pilot would provide transportation to and from Provincetown to the towns of Truro, Wellfleet, and Eastham to ensure that Provincetown workers have safe, reliable, affordable transportation during the months of May, June, July, August, September, and October to fill current gaps in service hours offered by the Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority (CCRTA).
- Article 15: Home Rule Petition. Acquisition of Year-Round Housing Occupancy Restrictions
- To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Select Board to petition the General Court for special legislation to provide as set forth below; provided, however, that the General Court may make clerical or editorial changes of form only to the bill so submitted, unless the Select Board approves amendments to the bill before enactment by the General Court; and further that the Select Board is hereby authorized to approve amendments which shall be within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition.
- This article will create a Home Rule Petition to allow the Town of Provincetown to create a year-round deed restriction program to promote year-round housing occupancy. Managed by the Year Round Market Rate Rental Housing Trust (YRMRRHT), with approval from the Select Board, this program would allow the Town to purchase deed restrictions from homeowners and developers to permanently limit the occupancy of a given unit via a year-round housing occupancy restriction for rental or ownership housing. This would be a voluntary program where homeowners could sell a deed restriction to the Town, for a yet to be determined amount, whereby the deed restriction would live with the property in perpetuity and would only allow for the property to be occupied by an owner or renter who lived at the property year-round with no Area Median Income (AMI) restrictions.
- Article 16. Expansion of the Residential Tax Exemption for Year Round Rentals
- To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Select Board to petition the General Court for special legislation to amend Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2018, as set forth below; provided, however, that the General Court may make clerical or editorial changes of form only to the bill so submitted, unless the Select Board approves amendments to the bill before enactment by the General Court; and further that the Select Board is hereby authorized to approve amendments which shall be within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition. This article will allow for a domicile-based residential exemption in addition to having multiple expanded residential exemptions on a multi-unit parcel. The adoption of the 2018 Expanded Residential Exemption allowed the benefit of a residential exemption to be given to a non-residential property owner in exchange for renting on a year-round basis to a Provincetown resident. However, the bill never addressed the possibility of multi-unit parcels being able to have more than one residential exemption per parcel.
- This article amending Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2018 will allow more options for non-resident owners of multi-unit properties to financially benefit from the ability to rent multiple units to year-round Provincetown residents. Additionally, permanent residents who own multi-unit properties will have a new incentive for renting to Provincetown residents by also receiving exemptions on their rental units, hopefully creating more year-round rental units with only a small impact to the Town’s overlay.
- Article 36. 0.5% Real Estate Transfer Fee - A Home Rule Petition
- To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Select Board to petition the General Court for special legislation authorizing the Town to impose a 0.5% real estate transfer fee as set forth below; provided, however, that the General Court may make clerical or editorial changes of form only to said bill, unless the Select Board approves amendments thereto prior to enactment by the General Court, and provided further that the Select Board is hereby authorized to approve amendments which shall be within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition.
- This article seeks an annual reaffirming vote in support of the Home Rule Petition currently pending at the State Legislature to impose a 0.5% Real Estate Transfer Fee. What’s different about this article this year is that we have changed the distribution of any funds collected from OPEB Trust to the Year Round Market Rate Rental Housing Trust and Affordable Housing Trust Fund. These funds will go exclusively to housing needs which better represent the Town’s priority goals and needs. State Representative Sarah Peake has recommended that the language be voted on once again at this year’s Town Meeting to reinforce its intent as the home rule petition makes its way up the legislative channels of the State House.
Finally, there are important items to highlight on this year's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
- Article 9B: Community Development – Coastal Resilience and Climate Action Plan - $300,000
- The Coastal Resiliency Advisory Committee (CRAC) convened this past year, and their charge is to recommend a coastal resiliency and climate action plan to the Select Board. This request would fund the hiring of a consultant to assist the committee in drafting the plan.
- One of the Town Manager’s annual goals for FY23 is for staff to work with the CRAC to draft a framework of this plan and prepare a scope of work and budget for a consultant to assist with developing the plan.
- Article 9E: Community Development –Demolition and Debris Removal and Site Readiness for 288A Bradford Street and 26 Shank Painter Road - $200,000
- This will allow for the demolition and clearing of the 288A Bradford Street and 26 Shank Painter Road projects in preparation for housing development.
- Article 9Z: Year Round Market Rate Rental Housing Trust (YRMRRHT) – Harbor Hill Roof Replacement - $310,000
- This will provide funds for the completion of roof replacement and repairs for all four buildings at Harbor Hill. The Trust began the roof replacement to be done spring and summer 2023, replacing wood cedar shingles with asphalt as required by insurance companies for three of the four buildings. The additional funds will provide for project completion for all four roofs including skylight removal, gutters, downspouts, and all trim replacement.
- This project is required by the Trust’s insurance company and if not completed by this fall the coverage will be cancelled.
- Article 9AA: Recreation Department – Pickleball Courts at Jerome Smith Parking Lot - $175,000
- This will provide funds for the construction of up to four pickleball courts to be installed at the Jerome Smith Parking Lot.
A Town Meeting Forum will be held on Wednesday, March 22 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium at Town Hall for residents to hear more about the items above and learn about all of the Article's on the Warrant for Annual Town Meeting on April 3, 2023.