Brewster will hold its fall Town Meeting on Monday, November 18 at 7 p.m. at Stony Brook Elementary School. Town residents will be asked to vote on 18 articles including a few articles which may raise the dander of some home and business owners.
The 18 articles cover a wide variety of topics and concerns for the town including affordable housing, fertilizer nutrient control, civil fingerprinting, the restaurant at Captains Course, design services for the new fire station and a rooms tax on private rentals. A few of the bigger issues are outlined below. Voters will be asked to approve $129,479 in budgetary transfers and $1,512,538 in capital and special project expenses plus funds for 50 low-income housing rental units.
Plans for a new fire station
Article 7 is a request for $230,000 for planning, designing and engineering costs as pertain to the construction of a brand new fire station. All selectmen and finance committee members have approved the expense and it is now up to the voters to give final approval on this first design step. According to the town, the fire department has outgrown the current facility on Route 6A, even after taking over the space originally used by the police department. A study was undertaken and it was concluded in July 2013 that building a new station on the current site would be far more economical than renovating the current station.
A yes vote for residents would approve $230,000 to hire a project manager and begin site analysis and soil and wetland testing. Once built, the proposed fire station would be completed in 2016 and cost the Town of Brewster $13 million.
6% room tax on vacation cottages, houses & condos
Article 6 calls for the approval and collection of a 6% room tax on "any vacation or leisure accommodations". The town currently collects 6% on stays in bed & breakfast, motel and hotel rooms to the tune of $950,000. A yes vote on Article 6 would increase that revenue by collecting 6% on stays in private homes, condos, cottage and such. Several other Cape towns have battled over such a tax, but only a few chose to fill the coffers this way. For the record, Brewster selectmen were all for it and the finance committee was split: yes -2, no - 4, abstain - 1.
Fingerprinting of vendors
In Article 11, the town wants voters to allow outside vendors seeking licenses to operate in town to be fingerprinted by the Brewster Police Department. Should the article pass, alcoholic beverage license (managers), hawkers and peddlers and ice cream truck vendors will have to be fingerprinted before being approved for a license to operate in town. The fee to fingerprint applicants will be $100.
Fertilizers and town water
Article 17 pertains to the adoption of "fertilizer nutrient control". With the new control, the town would lessen the amount of nitrogen entering the groundwater by not allowing the application of nitrogen fertilizer "in the off-season, onto impervious surfaces, or before or during a heavy rain."
The warrant is available for review here. Large print copies are also available at the Brewster Town Hall.