POLITICS

South Shore Country Club Committee is Seeking CPA Funds for New Pool 

By Greg Lane, Hingham Current Staff; September 17, 2020
Hingham Current News File Photo / Greg Lane

A new pool complex planned for South Shore Country Club is moving forward, pending approval by the Board of Selectmen. 

The redevelopment of the club’s pool, a plan to relocate and build a pool and splash pad with bathroom/locker facilities and a bubble for year round swim would cost $7.6 million to construct.

Since the country club is owned by the Town, the Management Committee must first get the Board of Selectmen’s permission to move forward with the project. The committee’s request is on the Selectmen’s agenda September 29th.

While the Management Committee awaits the Selectmen’s approval, it submitted a preliminary application seeking Community Preservation Act funds to help pay for the project. All applicants must complete a Preliminary CPA Application, which was due in to the Town Engineer’s Office this week. Once the CPC has reviewed the application and it is cleared for the next step, a Final CPA Application must be completed and received by October 13th to be considered for recommendation at the Annual Town Meeting in April 2021. 

“If we do not submit an application to the Community Preservation Committee by September 15th then we will not be considered for Town Meeting,” explained Chairwoman Christine Smith during a committee meeting on Monday. 
 

Although the country club operates as an enterprise fund, providing a service to individual customers for a charge in a manner similar to private business, its operations do not generate sufficient surpluses to fund the repayment of debt for large capital projects.  

In June, the country club received a $2.7 million appropriation from the Town for design of the pool and to build a new maintenance facility. Although the funding passed at Town Meeting, voters debated the decision to move forward with the design of the new country club pool on to top of other big upcoming capital projects such as the $28 million emergency management facility, especially while COVID-19 continues to create uncertainty around town revenues.  

 

While supportive of the pool project, Chairwoman Smith expressed concerns about the financing of the project, noting that the town has a long list of capital projects and the pool is just one of them. 

“I’m comfortable submitting this preliminary application and having this discussion with the Selectmen at the end of September as how they want to pace this thing. If the Selectmen feel that it has to wait a year then we still have time to spend the $500,000 CPC money from June with a good design and community input.” 

According to the Community Preservation Coalition website, the Community Preservation Act, M.G.L. c. 44B, allows Massachusetts cities and towns to raise monies through a surcharge of up to 3% of the tax levy on real property. These funds are to be used to acquire, create and preserve open space; acquire and preserve historic resources; create, preserve and support community housing; and acquire and preserve land for recreational use. A town is not required to spend the CPA funds in a given year and the Community Preservation Committee may recommend spending none of the monies or a partial amount of the monies. 

The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is comprised of nine people, six of whom are appointed by and from the Conservation Commission, the Planning Board, the Historical Commission, the Housing Authority, the Recreation Commission, and the Board of Selectmen, and three of whom are citizens at large, one appointed by the Board of Selectmen and two by the Moderator.

Hingham's Community Preservation Committee

Kevin M. Burke, Historical Commission Representative

Vicki Donlan, Recreation Commission Representative

William Harrington, Selectmen appointee

Larry Lindner, Selectmen appointee

Thomas Roby, Conservation Commission Representative

Kirsten Moore, Town Moderator appointee

Judy Sneath, Planning Board Representative

Meghan Buhr, Housing Authority

Charles Byrne, Town Moderator appointee

Greg Lane can be reached at greg@hinghamcurrent.com.