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Today’s County Commissioners’ Meeting: The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod Designated as the Official Arts Agency of Barnstable County

Pictured from left: Chairman Mark Forest, AFCC Director Julie Wake, and Vice-Chair Ronald Bergstrom

AquiFund launches to provide septic upgrade and sewer connection loans for residents in need.

March 1, 2023 (BARNSTABLE, MA) – Today the Barnstable County Commissioners designated the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC) as Barnstable County’s official arts agency and launched the AquiFund program to provide septic upgrade and sewer connection low interest loans for county residents.

Julie Wake, Executive Director at the AFCC, expressed appreciation to the Commissioners and Administration for their support and highlighted some of the key successes already achieved by the Arts Foundation – from granting small-scale awards to large grants to arts organizations and individuals. By placing arts at the forefront of community dialogue, the AFCC is helping to ensure artists and art organizations remain an integral part of the culture on Cape Cod. Ms. Wake stated that the goal is to, “…make sure arts have a seat at the table, that they are part of the community and an important part of the community.”

The designation allows the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC) to apply for federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to support larger-scale initiatives that will provide subgrants to local artists and art organizations dedicated to elevating the arts on Cape Cod.

Commissioner Ronald Bergrsom added, “The Arts Foundation has done a terrific job in the past at accessing funds that are available,” and he said, “it [the Arts] is an important part of what Cape Cod is all about.”

Brian Baumgaertel, Senior Environmental Specialist at the Department of Health and Environment officially unveiled the County’s new AquiFund program.  The Aquifund’s mission is to offer affordable loans to residents, creating an equitable environment for those facing financial hardship when replacing or upgrading their septic systems or connecting to a municipal sewer. The County recognizes the importance of safeguarding our region’s natural resources and ensuring that everyone, regardless of financial limitations, has access to necessary wastewater management measures which will support a harmonious balance between community health and economic growth.

Interest rates for new applicants will be calculated based on financial need along with additional qualifying criteria:

  • 0% interest rate betterment loans are available to year-round homeowners with a household income less than $100,500 living in a single-family, owner-occupied, primary residence located in a nitrogen-sensitive watershed. 
  • 2% interest rate betterment loans are available to year-round homeowners with a household income less than $150,500 living in a single-family, owner-occupied, primary residence located in a nitrogen-sensitive watershed. 
  • All other new projects are eligible for loans at 4%. 

Details and instructions to apply for a loan are available at

Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori and Deputy Director Steven Tupper shared information on ongoing work to improve broadband infrastructure and digital equity across the region. The Cape Cod Commission has been selected as a Digital Equity Planning Provider for Cape Cod’s 15 communities under the Massachusetts Broadband Institute’s Digital Equity Planning Program. The purpose of this program is to assist municipalities in assessing the digital divide in their community (the lack of affordable internet access, affordable devices appropriate for an individual’s civic, social, and employment needs, and the skills necessary to engage digitally) and finding solutions towns can further through other state and local efforts. This work will complement the Commission’s ARPA-funded broadband needs assessment. Further information can be found by visiting 

In other news, County Administrator Beth Albert and Finance Director Carol Coppola discussed plans to undertake a comprehensive review of the dredge program with a goal of developing a rate structure that will provide adequate revenue to operate the dredge program.

Based upon the recommendation of Kenneth Cirillo, Director of Cape Cod’s Dredge Program, County Commissioners unanimously voted for Chairman Mark Forest to be added as a member of the Dredge Advisory Committee.


Members of the public are encouraged to visit the Barnstable County Meeting Center at to access the Commissioners’ calendar, meeting agendas, information on how to participate, or links to the live-streamed meetings on YOUTUBE.  Barnstable County provides reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities upon request. Contact Justyna Marczak, Barnstable County ADA/Non-Discrimination Coordinator, or call 508-375-6646.

ABOUT BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE COD Barnstable County provides exemplary government functions and services to keep our community healthy and safe, promote sustainable growth, and offer a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County. Learn more at