Special Town Meeting
Thursday, Feb. 29 at 7:00 pm
Dennis-Yarmouth Intermediate School, 286 Station Ave, South Yarmouth 02660
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Town of Dennis Select Board is seeking Dennis voter support for the purchase of 187 Upper County Road in Dennis Port, which is the site of a vacant Catholic Church and large parking lot. The purchase can only occur if approved by voters attending the Special Town Meeting on Thursday Feb. 29th at 7:00 PM.
Q: Where is this property?
The property is the Catholic Church and its parking lot, located at the 4-way-stop intersection of Upper County Road and Depot Street in Dennis Port. It is currently owned by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fall River (Fall River Diocese), which has not used the seasonal church for many years.
Q: Why does the Dennis Select Board want to purchase the property?
The Select Board wants to purchase this property to create much needed green space in densely populated Dennis Port Village.
Q: What is the purchase price of the property? How was the purchase price determined?
The purchase price of the property is $2,300,000. A town can purchase a property only for its reasonable market value based on an independent real estate appraisal. The Town of Dennis obtained a real estate appraisal of the property, which appraised the property at $2,300,000. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Fall River agreed to this purchase price.
Q: Where is the Town getting the $2,300,000 to purchase the property? Is it borrowing it?
The Town is not borrowing money to purchase the property, but is using a portion of the Town’s Free Cash. Free Cash is not “free.” Free cash is a revenue source that results from the calculation, as of July 1, of a community's remaining, unrestricted funds from its operations of the previous fiscal year based on the balance sheet as of June 30. It typically includes actual receipts in excess of revenue estimates and unspent amounts in departmental budget line items for the year just ending, plus unexpended free cash from the previous year. Free cash is offset by property tax receivables and certain deficits, and as a result, can be a negative number. Town Meeting approval is required before Free Cash can be put to a particular use.
Q: How will the Town use the property?
Use of the property will be determined after the property is successfully purchased.
Q: Why are we having this Special Town Meeting now? Isn’t Town Meeting usually in May?
The Dennis Select Board called a Special Town Meeting for Feb. 29th because the purchase closing date is April 1, 2024. Annual Town Meeting for the Town of Dennis occurs each May, and this is after that purchase deadline. The Town of Dennis will still hold an Annual Town Meeting this spring.
Q: I’ve never been to Town Meeting before. Can I just show up?
While Town Meeting is open to all people age 18+, you must be a registered voter in the Town of Dennis to vote at Town Meeting. If you attend Town meeting and are not registered to vote in the Town of Dennis, you will be directed to sit at the back of the auditorium and you cannot vote during Town Meeting. To vote in the Feb. 29th Special Town Meeting, you must be registered to vote no later than February 16, 2024.
Q: I need to register to vote or check my voter registration status. How do I do that?
To register to vote or check your registration status online, visit www.registertovotema.com. If you want to register or check your registration status in person, the Dennis Town Clerk Office is hosting a special Voter Registration on Friday February 16 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. You can stop by the Dennis Town Clerk to register Monday through Friday between hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. To vote in the Feb. 29th Special Town Meeting, you must be registered to vote no later than February 16, 2024.