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Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates Budget Cuts Negatively Impact Cape Cod

Information from Barnstable County Commissioners’ Office

May 23, 2022 (BARNSTABLE, MA) – The Barnstable County Commissioners convened a special meeting this morning to respond to $835,000.00 in budget cuts made by the Assembly of Delegates on May 4, 2022.  The Commissioners are deeply concerned that the budget adopted by the Assembly fails to provide adequate support for certain operating expenses of Barnstable County and will have negative consequences for the region.

Harwich officials also expressed surprise and concern about the Assembly’s proposal.  Harwich Town Meeting already approved an agreement with the County to provide information technology services that will most likely need to be canceled because of the Assembly’s cuts.

“Eliminating staff positions from the Information Technology Department makes no sense.  The positions are paid for with non-county funds and have dedicated sources of revenue generated from service contracts with towns,” said Sheila Lyons, Chair of the Board of Regional Commissioners.

The Assembly’s proposed reductions to positions in the Resource Development Office, County Administration, and Finance departments will make it very difficult for Barnstable County and Cape Cod towns to pursue and manage millions of dollars in federal and state funding available for regional and local infrastructure projects – including funds for wastewater, PFAS, and other groundwater pollution remediation, broadband and affordable housing.

The Commissioners believe the FY 23 budget review process undertaken by the Assembly lacked transparency because it failed to provide any explanation or reason for the cuts, as required by the County Charter.  In fact, Administration and staff were only informed of the proposed cuts after the Assembly’s May 4th meeting was already underway.

The Assembly’s stated generalized concerns about budget “bloat,” and unsustainable expenditures in future years, did not track with many of the specific cuts adopted.  In fact, in some instances, there were identified and ongoing revenue streams that would have funded the items cut, and in other instances, the cuts will impact the County’s ability to actively seek out new revenue streams such as grants.

Access the complete version of the Commissioner’s Vote Against Assembly Budget Cuts

Last week, the Commissioners attempted to reconcile the budgetary differences with the Assembly by requesting a Budget Reconciliation Committee.  However, despite a good-faith effort by Administration to preserve key positions, the Committee voted not to accept any compromise.

The Assembly of Delegates will meet on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at 4 p.m. to decide whether to override the Commissioner’s veto on the FY 23 budget.

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