Town Council Meeting – Thursday, January 18, 2024
The January 18, 2024 Meeting of the Barnstable Town Council was conducted in person. The public was able to attend in person or participate remotely in Public Comment or during a Public Hearing via Zoom. The public was able to view the meeting on Barnstable Government Access Xfinity Channel 8 or 1070 or in High Definition on Xfinity Channel 1072 or via the live stream through the Town website. Town Council President Felicia Penn called the meeting to order and Assistant Town Clerk Janet Murphy took the Roll Call. Next President Penn asked that everyone stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and offered a Moment of Silence. President Penn announced that as Councilor Betty Ludtke was participating remotely, all votes were to be roll call.
President Penn announced that Mr. Ells’s Town Manager Communications for the period of January 2-16, 2024 had been pre-recorded and was shown on our Government Access Channel prior to the meeting. The recorded version of Mr. Ells’s Town Manager Communications may be viewed here and the itemized list is shared below:
- We are proceeding with the budget action calendar for FY 2025. Of note is that the School Committee workshop reviewing FY 2025 budget instructions and confirming the strategic direction of the proposed School Department budget for FY 2025 is scheduled for January 24, 2024. For information on our fiscal year budgets please view the Town’s Open Budget website at http://budget.townofbarnstable.us.
- In response to questions by Town Council regarding monitoring the activation of the Vineyard Wind cable landing at Covell’s Beach, I have been in contact with Vineyard Wind and requested regular communication with Barnstable Officials and our public regarding such compliance. In addition, I requested informational signage at the site to illustrate location and other project information so that those who visit Covell’s Beach may have access to such information. I await their response to these requests.
- I have attached the letter sent to Kenneth Kimmell of Commonwealth Wind that requests that Commonwealth Wind cease all activities related to the Commonwealth Wind Project as the Town does not support this proposed project. We will keep you advised as this matter progresses.
- There is an Opioid Settlement Fund workshop scheduled on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, at 5:30-8:30 pm Barnstable High School Jr/Sr Cafeteria, 744 West Main Street, Hyannis, MA 02601. The Town of Barnstable invites you to join a facilitated conversation and share your experience about how the opioid epidemic has impacted you, your family and/or the community. Barnstable residents affected by Opioid Use Disorder and professionals that serve Barnstable residents are encouraged to attend to assist in the process of identifying priority needs in Barnstable that will help guide future spending of Opioid Settlement Funds. We hope you can attend this important workshop.
- The Town Manager serves as the Town of Barnstable’s representative on the Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Fund Board (CCIWPF). Attached is the CCIWPF 2023 Annual Report. The CCIWPF was established by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2018 to help Cape Cod and Islands towns pay for necessary wastewater infrastructure and water quality remediation projects. The CCIWPF is a dedicated fund within the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust set up to solely benefit communities within the counties of Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket. Its source of revenue is a 2.75% excise tax on traditional lodging and short-term rentals. The fund is administered by the Clean Water Trust and overseen by a management board comprised of representatives from every member town. Since the creation of the Fund, revenue has been largely consistent with projections; however, local commitment to project implementation and eligible project costs have exceeded expectations. The 2023 Intended Use Plan (IUP) presented over $167 million in projects, more than $100 million above the assumed project costs and the greatest amount that we had seen for Cape Cod in a single year. On June 30, 2023, the Management Board sent a letter to Governor Healey (attached) articulating the critical need for additional revenue to the Fund to maintain a 25% subsidy. In December 2023, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued the Draft 2024 IUP with over $248 million in Cape projects, which once again far exceeds assumed project costs and places additional pressures on the Fund beyond those identified in the letter to the Governor. The 25% subsidy provided by the Fund has been a primary driver of long overdue progress on local wastewater projects. The certainty of the subsidy has helped garner community support for water quality project implementation and has resulted in significant action. Without significant additional revenues to the Fund, the Management Board will be forced to limit subsidies for critically needed wastewater and water quality projects on Cape Cod.
- The Town of Barnstable invites local civic associations and non-profits to apply for a 2024 Tourism Mini-Grant. The Tourism Mini-Grant Program is designed to support the town’s seven villages in promoting new or existing events and festivals to draw visitors to the Town of Barnstable. All civic associations and nonprofit organizations within the Town of Barnstable that produce and market events to visitors and/or provide visitor services are eligible to apply. Events that promote off-season visitation are encouraged. Grants are available up to a maximum of $1,000 per applicant and require one-to-one matching funds. A total of $9,000 is available in funding for the grant program, which is funded through a portion of the Town’s rooms tax revenues. APPLICATIONS must be submitted online on or before 11:59 pm, Thursday, February 29, 2024. Applications are available through the link in the Town Manager’s report, or on the Business Barnstable website under Grant Opportunities.
- The Town of Barnstable invites you to an open house to discuss future plans for the Barnstable Adult Community Center property on Thursday, February 1st from 1:00 to 3:00pm at the BACC. We are developing a master plan that will explore the potential for housing development, outdoor recreation opportunities, and connections with the adjoining public school property. Please join us at this kickoff meeting to share ideas, enjoy refreshments, and discuss the future of the Adult Community Center property. More information can be found on the Planning & Development Department website under ‘Current Projects’.
- The proposed Dog Control Regulations were presented at a Town Manager’s Hearing on October 18, 2023. Public Comment for the proposed regulations occurred from October 18 through December 8, 2023. Eighty-three (83) comments (negative and positive) were received. The two proposed regulations with the most comments were Dogs on Beaches (61%) and Kennel/Multiple Dog Regulations (16%). In response to comments, the following changes have been made:
- Reverted back to the May 15th through September 15th dog ban on Designated Bathing Beaches.
- Added a clause that allows Town Officials to close sections of beaches to dogs for endangered species protection.
- Worked with a representative of the American Kennel Club to better clarify Kennel and Multiple Dog definitions.
The second draft of the proposed Dog Control regulations was posted for 10 additional days from January 4 through January 15th. An email with the link to the second draft was sent to all 83 residents that had made comments regarding the first draft. Most of the feedback that staff received regarding the second draft was positive. The Town Manager plans to approve the second draft of the Dog Control Regulations shortly which will then be distributed to the public online and when dog licenses are purchased.
- Kelly Collopy, Communications Manager for the Public Works Department, will provide an update on Water Resource Management planning including the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan. Collopy’s PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.
Town Manager Mark Ells responded to questions posed by the Council on his communications.
The Council voted to approve Public Session Minutes: January 4, 2023.
Next was Communications from elected officials, boards, committees, and staff, commission reports, correspondence and announcements.
Councilor Paula Schnepp has suggested another Town Council subcommittee on housing. Hopes to have the committees defined and assembled by March 1st.
Orders of the Day.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-088 Approval of the Appointments to the Appointments Committee.
Presented by President Felicia Penn. The item was approved.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-089 Authorization to contract for and expend a State Fiscal Year 2024 Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $50,000 from The Massachusetts Office of Grants and Research.
Presented by Det. Sgt. Kevin Connolly. Acting Chief Jean Challies joined Det. Sgt. Connolly to respond to Councilor questions. The item was approved.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-090 Authorization to contract for and expend a Fiscal Year 2024 Grant in the amount of $7,500 from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to acquire one electric vehicle under the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program.
Presented by Sustainability Manager Sean Hogan. David Anthony, Director of Asset Management, responded to Councilor questions. The item was approved.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-091 Resolve authorizing the change in purpose and sale of surplus municipal property at 30 Ocean Street, Hyannis, as shown on Assessors Map 327, Parcel 101, to Main Street Times LLC.
Presented by Director of Asset Management David Anthony. The item was not approved.
Mr. Anthony’s PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-092 Order Waiving the Provisions of Chapter 220, Article I, Section 220-4 of the Code of the Town of Barnstable for a Period of Six Months received a First Reading and was referred to a Public Hearing 02/01/2024.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-093 Appropriation and Loan Order in the amount of $30,900,000 for the purpose of funding sewer infrastructure improvements received a First Reading.
Dan Santos, Department of Public Works Director, provided the Town Council with background information to the item that was referred to a Public Hearing 02/01/2024.
Mr. Santos’s PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.
The Town Council voted to enter executive session pursuant to G.L. c. 30A, sec. 21(a)(3) to discuss strategy with respect to litigation since a discussion in open session may have a detrimental effect on the litigating position of the Town and Town Council. Specifically, the Council will discuss litigation strategy with respect to Park City Wind LLC’s proposed offshore renewable wind project in the Town. The Council vote was that they would not return to Public Session.
The next regularly scheduled Town Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 1, 2024. The public is able to view through Xfinity High Definition Channel 1072 (or Xfinity Channel 8 or 1070) or Live Streaming on the Town of Barnstable’s website. Real-time public comment may be addressed to the Barnstable Town Council utilizing the Zoom video link or telephone number and access meeting code which will be included on the Agenda. Written Comments may be submitted to: https://tobweb.town.barnstable.ma.us/boardscommittees/towncouncil/Town_Council/Agenda-Comment.asp. The meeting Agenda will be available on the Town of Barnstable’s website (www.townofbarnstable.us).