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Commissioners Prioritize Funding AquiFund

March 27, 2024 (Barnstable, MA) – In today’s meeting, the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners welcomed Jennifer Flynn, the new superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore and voted on several key measures including authorizing funding for the Cape Cod Visitor Center.

Commissioner’s Commit $40,000 to Enhance Cape Cod Welcome Center

The Commissioners unanimously voted to allocate $40,000 for the 2024 tourism season to support the Cape Cod Welcome Center on Route 6.  Mary Vilbon, Executive Director of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, which operates the regional visitor center, highlighted the center’s partnership with MASS DOT, the Cape Cod Chamber, and Barnstable County, which has led to significant site improvements. Last season, the Cape Cod Welcome Center welcomed 32,000 visitors, and remarkably, a record number of people, 116,000, utilized the restrooms within a short span of 4.5 months.

Collaboration with the Cape Cod National Seashore

The Board welcomed Jennifer Flynn, Superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore, along with Deputy Superintendent Leslie Reynolds and Chief of Natural Resources Geoff Sanders, to discuss opportunities for collaboration between the National Seashore, the County, and local towns.   The Commissioners highlighted the potential for shared initiatives, especially in zoning and wildfire planning.  Superintendent Flynn stressed the importance of adapting to climate changes and enhancing the region’s resilience.  “The climate of the past doesn’t predict the future. An all-encompassing approach to addressing these challenges will be crucial as we navigate the environmental realities of tomorrow.”

Commissioners Support $13 Million in Funding for AquiFund Loan Program

The Board voted for the 2nd time to authorize the appropriation of $13 million dollars in funding for the County’s AquiFund program and to borrow $13 million from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (CWT) to finance 0-4% loans to homeowners for septic systems and sewer connections.  

Last week, the Assembly amended the Board’s original request to seek the entirety of the $13 million loan from the CWT, reducing the amount of the loan to $10 million and taking $3 million from the County’s unreserved fund balance.  The Commissioner’s rejected this revision noting that the CWT has the funds available specifically for this purpose.  Commissioner Mark Forest expressed, “The message from Cape Cod has been loud and clear—we need this money to protect our community and our environment. The Clean Water Trust is standing shoulder to shoulder with us, and it’s evident that we are speaking with one voice on this matter.”

Commissioners Reaffirm Opposition to Proposed Machine Gun Range  

The Board has once again expressed their strong opposition to the proposed machine gun range in the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve by reaffirming their support for the EPA’s sole source aquifer review.  To this end, they will communicate their objections through a formal letter addressed to the director of the EPA in Washington D.C., as well as to the congressional and legislative delegations. This action underscores the Commissioners’ proactive approach to environmental conservation and their commitment to voicing the concerns of their constituents at the national level.

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