Brewster special election to decide on debt exclusions to purchase cape cod sea camps
BREWSTER – It was a record turnout of nearly 1,500 people and a nearly unanimous vote at special town meeting Sept. 26 in favor of the town’s purchase of two parcels of land formerly known as the Cape Cod Sea Camps.
And the final authorization could come today when a special election asks Brewster voters to approve two debt exclusions to finance bond issues for the Sea Camps purchase.
Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm today at Brewster Baptist Church, 1848 Main St.
The town agreed to pay a total of $ 26 million for both parcels in an effort to prevent commercial development of the land that for decades had an iconic overnight camp for children and young adults. The camps ceased operation in the fall 2020 and the parcels were put up for sale.
One parcel, at 500 WH Besse Cartway, is a 66-acre spread with 1,200 feet of frontage on Long Pond and 765 feet on Route 137. It was the site for the camps’ sailing instruction program, and is mostly undeveloped woods. It abuts 42 acres of town-owned land, and about half of the parcel is in a water protection district.
Of the $ 6 million acquisition cost, special town meeting approved $ 1.75 million from free cash and $ 250,000 from the Brewster Water Department, leaving $ 4 million as excluded debt.
But the town also received financial commitments from the Brewster Conservation Trust for $ 1.75 million and the Massachusetts Audubon Society for $ 1.5 million – and the water department has pledged another $ 100,000 in funding over the next three years.
“The town has short-term, non-excluded debt capacity to cover the $ 650,000 balance (plus interest) over the next several years,” Brewster Town Administrator Peter Lombardi said Monday. “So, although $ 4 million in excluded debt is technically being authorized , this acquisition, as proposed, will not impact resident tax bills. ”
“With the expectation that a majority of this property will be preserved as open space, once a plan for this property is completed, the funding from our proposed partners (BCT and Mass Audubon) would then be applied toward our annual debt payments,” he added.
Once the town receives these payments, likely over a three- to five-year period, the debt will be fully retired.
The second parcel, a 55-acre property at 3057 Route 6A with 800 feet of shoreline on Cape Cod Bay, will cost the town $ 20 million in excluded debt.
The town plans to issue debt over a 30-year term.
“Based on the conservative estimates of our financial advisors, this excluded debt will add 25 cents per thousand to the town’s tax rate, or $ 125 per year for a home valued at $ 500,000,” Lombardi said. “While we have also received pledges of $ 1 million from Mass Audubon and $ 800,000-plus from private donors for this property, we are not counting on these potential contributions at this time. ”
The town in late September signed a purchase-and-sale agreement with the owners of Cape Cod Sea Camps, the Delahanty family. The transaction is expected to close by Nov. 30 if the ballot questions pass today.
If you go
What: Brewster special town election
When: 7 am to 8 pm today
Where: Brewster Baptist Church, 1848 Main St., Brewster
Why: Two questions asking to exempt from Proposition 2½ the amounts required to pay for bonds issued for acquisition of two Cape Cod Sea Camps parcels
Note: Vote-by-mail ballots due at Brewster town clerk’s office by 8 pm today (after hours use the Town Clerk drop box outside town hall)