Sewer update

A community meeting, Update on Design of East Harwich Sewer System, will be held Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. at the community center, 100 Oak St.

East Harwich residents will hear the latest on the design process, schedule for completing the design and when construction might start should funding pass at spring Town Meeting.

Violence erupts

Harwich Police Department received several 911 calls from the area of Main Street and Pine Drive reporting a large fight in the street and the sound of gunshots around 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 5.

A short time later Cape Cod Hospital called the Harwich Police reporting that they had a stabbing victim from an incident that had taken place in Harwich, a police statement said.

“Harwich Police officers as well as Dennis Police officers and Massachusetts State Troopers responded to the scene and encountered a mostly uncooperative group of individuals. Several of these individuals had come from or were at a residence on Pine Drive,” police said.

As the investigation continued, a male subject exited the residence and was not cooperating with verbal commands that were being given to him. The male subject then ran off on foot and was pursued by officers. During the foot pursuit, the male subject was seen throwing an item into the woods. The subject was captured and the object that was thrown into the woods was found to be a gun.

The subject was identified as a 17-year-old juvenile. He was placed under arrest, ordered held without bail and later transferred to juvenile holding facility in Brockton. He was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.

The incident remains under investigation, said police.

New planner

Charleen Greenhalgh, who has been Harwich assistant town administrator since 2015, was appointed town planner by the selectmen Monday night.

Greenhalgh will continue to serve in both positions until an assistant town administrator is hired. She replaces Aly Sabatino, who left to take the planner position in Chatham.

Greenhalgh said she decided to try for the position when Sabatino left because “planning is in my blood.” She has served in several planning positions on the Cape since 1987, as assistant planner in Chatham, town planner in Dennis and assistant planner in Harwich before serving a dual role as assistant administrator and planner in Truro. She lives in Chatham.

The big issue facing the planning department and planning board now is how to handle the new state law allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana. A public hearing has been set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in the Town Hall hearing room to consider a ban on marijuana sales and an extension on the current June 30 moratorium to Dec. 31.

A third bylaw is being considered requiring a special permit for use if the town does not vote on a total ban of the sales at the spring Town Meeting.

Sewer worries

Selectman Larry Ballantine brought up his concerns at Monday’s selectmen’s meeting about the management of the town’s major sewer connection projects. He noted the significant costs of $9 million so far for the design of the sewers in East Harwich and connection to the Chatham treatment plant and the upcoming $22 million needed for the construction.

He said the town should consider hiring a consultant to deal with the construction details and public relations.

“We want this to go well. It’s expensive and the initial phase of a 40-year project,” he said. “I would like people to feel good about it” and “make sure it’s done right.” He said it is a mistake to use the water department to oversee the construction.

Town Administrator Chris Clark said a consultant for such a project would cost from $100,000 to $150,000, and noted that Chatham relied on in-house personnel for its wastewater projects as he is doing while serving as the project manager. He suggested waiting to see how the Jan. 16 community meeting goes to inform East Harwich residents about the project.

Selectman Chairman Michael MacAskill was not in favor of an expensive consultant but said a support committee for the project has been set up.

Pay it forward

Prompted by Congress’s recent approval of a new tax plan, many Harwich residents descended on the Harwich tax collector’s office the last week of December to pay a record $2.383 million in taxes.

Tax Collector Amy Bullock confirmed the figure Tuesday and said the amount collected in the same week of 2016 was $111,000. “We were busy,” she said of the four workers in the office.

The rush to pay was definitely because of the new tax law, since people wanted to get the deductions before the new law went into effect, she said. The new law caps state and local deductions on real estate and income taxes at $10,000, so many people could be affected, she said.

The taxpayers can claim on their taxes what was assessed in 2017 through June 30, 2018, Bullock said, so many paid through the next two quarters of the fiscal year.

Music series

Blues musicians Martin Grosswendt and Susanne Salem-Schatz will perform Saturday, Jan. 13, 2 p.m. at Brooks Free Library, 739 Main St., Harwich.

The show is free and all are welcome.

Meetings

Tuesday, Jan. 16

Sewer update, 7 p.m., community center

 

Wednesday, Jan. 17

Conservation commission, 6:30 p.m.