image of barnstable county courthouse

County Unveils Long Term Plan to Strengthen County Finances  

Finance Plan Follows “Best Practices” to Boost Bond Rating 

Barnstable County, MA – October 26, 2023 — At its October 25th meeting, the Board of Regional Commissioners was presented with a proposed financial plan to strengthen the County’s finances. The plan includes recommendations for County investments in capital projects, PFAS cleanup costs, and the creation of reserve funds to ensure long-term financial stability. 

The financial plan was created by an ad hoc finance team organized by the County Administrator. This team met regularly over the past six months to develop an overall financial plan to address Barnstable County’s most pressing needs. The team’s recommendations took into consideration a number of important challenges facing the county, including an 18% decline in deeds excise tax revenues, a softening of the real estate market, growing costs to renovate long-neglected County Court facilities, long-term OPEB obligations, and the high cost of cleaning up groundwater contamination at the regional municipal fire training facility that had been used by local fire departments for many years. 

“The county is facing some significant financial challenges. However, it is clear that, through the diligent efforts of our Ad Hoc Committee, we now have a plan that not only addresses these challenges but will also put the county in a very strong financial position for years to come. I want to thank the entire committee and especially our Assembly Speaker Patrick Princi and Yarmouth Assembly Delegate Susan Warner for their strong interest and contributions,” said Mark Forest, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. 

The committee’s recommendations included establishing a revenue deficit contingency fund to deal with an unexpected revenue shortfall, creating a sustainable source of funds to address the county’s post-employment benefits (OPEB), allocating funds to immediately remediate PFAS groundwater contamination, and creating a Capital Improvement Fund to address the County’s capital needs, such as the refurbishment of the Superior Court House and other court facilities in Barnstable County. 

“This plan closely follows our established financial policies and widely recognized and accepted ‘best financial practices.’ The plan represents a wise balance of county resources that will strengthen Barnstable County’s overall financial picture,” said Carol Coppola, Barnstable County’s Finance Director. 

Following this presentation, County Administrator Beth Albert outlined priorities for the coming fiscal year 2025 budget. She called for a balanced budget while supporting high-quality regional programs and services and dealing with an anticipated decline in projected deeds revenue, along with increasing health and salary costs. Ms. Albert also addressed the county’s extensive capital needs, staff capacity, space needs, and the importance of sustaining the County’s extensive grant programs. The Board endorsed a level-service budget for fiscal year 2025, with a freeze on new staff hiring. 

Shared Regional Housing Services Pilot Launched 

Following a presentation by Joseph Pacheco, Director of Human Services, Irene Hammon from Barnstable County HOME Program, and Consultant Alexis Lanzillotta, the County Commissioners endorsed the establishment of the Shared Regional Housing Services Program, initially funded with County ARPA funds. It is a two-year initiative to provide direct technical and administrative support to the affordable housing work underway in individual towns on Cape Cod. The project will explore using an Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) to sustain the program beyond June 30, 2025. Mr. Pacheco said, “The Shared Regional Housing Services Program fills an immediate need on Cape Cod, and at the conclusion of the pilot program, all 15 towns will have received valuable resources to further their work in both maintaining and developing affordable housing.” 

November 6th to 12th Is Operation Green Light for Cape’s Veterans 

During the meeting, Communications Coordinator Sonja Sheasley provided an update on Barnstable County’s involvement in Operation Green Light for Veterans, a nationwide initiative led by the National Association of Counties (NACo) to raise awareness about veterans’ unique challenges. From November 6th to 12th, Barnstable County’s Superior Courthouse, including the cupola and statues, will be illuminated in green to show support for all our veterans. This green lighting serves as a symbol of appreciation, and residents were encouraged to participate by changing a light bulb in their homes to green. 

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 offers a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County. Learn more at

MEDIA CONTACT Sonja Sheasley, Communications Coordinator 

(508) 375-6896