Town Council Meeting – Thursday, March 21, 2024

The March 21, 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 Town Clerk Ann Quirk took the Roll Call. Town Council Vice President Craig Tamash introduced Town Councilor Betty Ludtke, a 30 year veteran of the United States Air Force.  Councilor Ludtke has completed ten years of active duty service and twenty years in the Reserves, retiring at the rank of colonel.  She has served at all levels of command, from the Joint Staff’s National Military Command Center in the Pentagon to deployments as diverse as recovery operations in Florida following hurricane Andrew and command and control of overflight operations in Uzbekistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  Town Councilor Kris Clark offered a Moment of Silence for Meghan Moore of Centerville whose life was tragically ended last weekend and Judy Desrochers, a long time West Barnstable resident and Meetinghouse Farm volunteer, who passed away.


Prior to Public Comment, President Penn shared a letter that she wrote to the Town Councilors.

To my fellow Councilors,


I’m writing to you today to set the record straight and give you the background of the outline that you received in your mailbox from an anonymous person.
Know that it is a work in progress—– an incomplete internal document.

Here is its history:

In early January, at one of the first meetings VP Tamash and I held with Town Management, I asked about the Town’s policy regarding land and development of housing, etc, and why the town was not more proactive.  We

were advised that the town had been operating under a policy not to acquire land for any purpose other than to protect our wells, and to let the private sector dictate what gets built where. This policy had been articulated by previous Town Councils.  I asked if this policy/philosophy was in writing anywhere, and the Town Manager indicated it was not, and if the Council wanted to change this philosophy, it was the purview of the Council to do so.

A few weeks later, VP Tamash and I presented a rough outline to Town Management that represented a new direction for the town. I did this as a first step, as they are the ones who would manage this change. After much discussion, I made a list of the edits they suggested.  At the end of the meeting, I asked them to contact the Planning and Development Department to inquire when Elizabeth Jenkins and her management team were available to meet and to schedule a meeting with them. (In the meantime, I updated the outline to reflect the changes the Town Manager and Assistant Manager had suggested.)  At this point, Town Management expressed appreciation that the new town policy/philosophy/guidance would be in writing going forward.


TM Ells informed us of a meeting date and time with P&D staff about a week later.  In the meantime, I received a call from Councilor Levesque inquiring about a letter sent to P&D.  I told him there was no letter sent to P&D, which is true, as up to that point, only the Town Managers and Craig and I had a copy of the outline, which was marked confidential, as it was only a draft.   He asked if I would share it with him, and I declined to do so, as it was a working document, and we had not yet presented it to or received input from P&D.  It was incomplete. I told him that eventually it would come to TC for final input and discussion. Town Management, Craig and I met with Elizabeth, Jim, Kaitlyn, and Kyle from P&D. (Step 2)   We handed them the draft document and had a discussion about why it was created, and reviewed its content.  It was obvious they wanted more time to digest its content, so I asked them to get back to us with their comments/suggestions/questions/ideas.   Currently that’s where we are. There has been no further discussion as, we are still waiting for their input before the outline is finalized. We are stuck in Step 2. After it is finalized, it will come to Town Council for further discussion and input. (Step 3)


I fully expected that any philosophical changes would be reviewed by the full council, although I do not recall past Councils bringing their philosophies to the full Council for discussion.  Our conversations with Planning and Development were not done in secret and were done with Town Management’s full co-operation and in their presence. The intent and purpose of the meeting with P&D was to solicit their ideas and feedback. As stated above, we are still waiting for their feedback. 


Nothing in this document should come as a surprise to anyone as every issue addressed within it has been a topic of conversation throughout the town for some time.


Now you have the truth.

March 10, 2024


Next was Public Comment.


Council Response to Public Comment followed.


President Penn took a couple items out of order.

State Representative Steven Xiarhos and State Representative Kip Diggs – Citation for Jean Challies, Police Chief

Below are Rep. Xiarhos’s comments:

We express our deepest gratitude and commendation to all the officers and agencies involved in the recent harrowing incident at 24 St. Francis Circle, Hyannis, on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 which resulted in over 30 shots fired.


Your collective efforts and unwavering dedication to duty were instrumental in ensuring the safety of our community and the successful resolution of the armed barricade.


The level of professionalism, coordination, and bravery demonstrated by each member of the law enforcement and emergency response teams involved was nothing short of exemplary.


From the Barnstable Police Department’s various units to the Cape Cod SWAT, and from neighboring police departments to specialized units such as the Mass State Police Bomb Squad, your collaborative approach and decisive actions undoubtedly saved lives and prevented further harm.


We want to extend out heartfelt appreciation to every individual who contributed to this operation, including dispatchers, patrol officers, detectives, tactical medics, crisis negotiators, and support staff.


The outside agencies and departments that came to help were:  Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, Brewster PD, Dennis PD, Eastham PD, Falmouth PD, Harwich PD, Mashpee PD, Orleans PD, Sandwich PD, Provincetown PD, Yarmouth PD, Hyannis Fire Department, Yarmouth Fire Department, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, Metropolitan Boston Area Law Enforcement Council SWAT, Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad, Bay Cove Human Services, Providence Canteen, Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Special Operations.


Your selfless dedication and commitment to serving and protecting our community reflect the highest standards of law enforcement and first responder professionalism.


In times of crisis, it is through the collective efforts of agencies like yours that we find strength, resilience, and hope. Your unwavering courage and resolve in the face of danger are a testament to your commitment to public safety and the values we hold dear.

Please convey our sincere appreciation to all members of this mission for their outstanding service and sacrifice. Bravery and professional exemplify the very best of law enforcement, public safety, and care for others in need, and we are proud to stand alongside you in service to our community.


Thank you once again for your exceptional efforts and commitment to keeping our community safe.


Update from DrJohn Cox, President, and Sheila Vaughn, Director of Admissions, Cape Cod Community College PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.


President Penn announced that Mr. Ells’s Town Manager Communications for the period of March 6-19, 2024 had been pre-recorded and was shown on our Government Access Channel prior to the meeting. Mr. Ells was invited to provide a summary of Town Manager Communications. The recorded version of Mr. Ells’s Town Manager Communications may be viewed here and the itemized list is shared below:

  1. The Cape Cod Commission was created in 1990 by an Act of the Massachusetts General Court and confirmed by a majority of Barnstable County voters to protect the region’s unique natural, coastal, historical, cultural, and other values. The Cape Cod Commission is made up of 19 appointed members, including representatives from each of Barnstable County’s 15 towns, one County Commissioner, one Native American, one Minority representative, and a Governor’s appointee.  Towns are requested to appoint a representative to the Cape Cod Commission for a term of three years at a time.  The appointment of such representation is the responsibility of the Town Manager on behalf of the Town of Barnstable.  All Cape Cod Commission members are citizen volunteers who receive and evaluate information from the Cape Cod Commission’s professional staff, consider policies to guide the agency’s activities, and make regulatory decisions about development proposals under the agency’s jurisdiction.  The next appointment of a three-year term will commence on April 24, 2024.  After consultation with the Town Council President, the Town Manager is encouraging residents who are registered voters that might be interested in serving the Town of Barnstable in this volunteer capacity to submit a letter of interest to the Town Manager by April 5, 2024 for consideration.
  2. We are proceeding with the budget action calendar for FY 2025. Departments have prepared FY 2025 proposed changes to fiscal year fees and submitted to the Town Manager for a public hearing that was held on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 via Zoom at 11:00 AM.   The proposed fees are posted on the Town website and comments will be accepted through April 19, 2024.  The FY25 proposed capital program and FY25 to FY29 Capital Plan has been submitted to the Town Council and is available on the town’s website for viewing. The Comprehensive Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC) has reviewed the proposed plan and has issued their report which has also been delivered to the Town Council and is available on the website. Finance Director Milne will provide an overview of the proposed FY25 CIP at the April 4 Town Council meeting and CFAC will provide an overview of their report.  The School Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed FY25 school department operating budget at their March 20th meeting.  A copy of the proposed budget is available on the school’s website. The School Committee is expected to vote on the proposed budget at their April 3rd meeting.  For information on our fiscal year budgets please view the Town’s Open Budget website at
  3. The town has received the audit report on its Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023. The auditors expressed a “clean” opinion on the financial statements which can be found on pages 19-22 of the report. Highlights from the town’s financial statements include the following:
  • Town assets exceeded liabilities by a total of $420 million;
  • The town’s net position increased by $60 million;
  • The town’s governmental funds had a total balance of $192 million of which $59 million was available for appropriation;
  • General fund expenditures totaled $181 million; an increase of $8 million over the prior year;
  • Long-term debt increased $3 million to a total of $117 million; and
  • The town’s pension liability increased $38 million to $120 million and the OPEB liability decreased $32 million to $98 million as of June 30, 2023.

The financial statements and audit report have been posted to the town’s website under the Finance area.

  1. As previously reported Governor Maura Healey signed an Executive Order creating the Commission on Clean Energy Infrastructure Siting and Permitting(CEISP) in an effort to meet the emissions limits outlined in the Clean Energy and Climate Plans (CECP). Massachusetts will need to site a significant amount of new energy infrastructure, including new solar and wind generation, storage, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. The CEISP is a Commission that is described as one that will bring together stakeholders to swiftly remove barriers to responsible clean energy infrastructure development.  The CEISP will be tasked with reducing permitting timelines, ensuring communities have input in the siting and permitting of clean energy infrastructure, and ensuring that the benefits of the clean energy transition are shared equitably.  The Commission has been instructed to make recommendations on administrative, regulatory, and legislative changes to existing permitting and siting procedures by March 31, 2024.  Committee members John Mangiaratti, Acton Town Manager and First Vice President, Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Matthew Teague, President, Reef Realty, Ltd, a resident of Barnstable, reached out to me immediately following the meeting regarding Barnstable’s involvement in this process and continue to share information from the Committee proceeding as it progresses.  We will keep you advised of our progress on this effort.
  2. As previously reported and in response to requests by Town Council and the public regarding monitoring the activation of the Vineyard Wind cable landing at Covell’s Beach, I continue discussions with Vineyard Wind and requested regular communication with Barnstable Officials and our public regarding the safe and compliant operation of their system. Vineyard Wind is developing informational signage to be installed at the site to illustrate location and other project information so that those who visit Covell’s Beach may have access to such information.  The informational signage will be installed in spring 2024.  They are preparing a means of public access to information regarding issues of concern such as Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) as well as other safety compliance aspects so that the public will know that the system is functioning in a safe and compliant manner.  The Town of Barnstable plans to retain an independent third-party expert to verify such safety issues.  We will keep you informed of the progress on this matter.
  3. On January 18, 2024 the Executive Committee of the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund (CCIWPF) Management Board voted to endorse the strategy for meeting the Funds financial needs. Upon further discussion with the State regarding the request, the CCIWPF Executive Committee met on March 6, 2024 to discuss a potential funding approach that may allow the CCIWPF to achieve the targeted 25% principal subsidy level for eligible wastewater projects into the future.  Our Finance Director and Treasurer attended the meeting with me and shared their advice as the CCIWPF Executive Committee considers a modification to the bylaws and revised modeling assumptions. The CCIWPF Executive Committee made a favorable recommendation regarding the proposed funding approach and referred the matter to the Bylaws and Regulations Committee.  The Bylaws and Regulations Committee will meet at 10am on Friday, March 22nd via Zoom to be followed by a full CCIWPF Board meeting to discuss and potentially vote on the modified funding approach and any bylaw and regulation changes resulting from the modified funding.  We will keep you advised of our progress on this matter.
  4. On March 18, 2024, the Town of Barnstable received notice of eligibility for subsidy from the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Trust Fund (CCIWPF) for Qualified Projects identified in the “Draft 2024 Intended Use Plan for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund”, dated December 27, 2023, published by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. While the Final 2024 Intended Use Plan has yet to be published, the CCIWPF anticipates Barnstable’s projects will be listed. Any Qualified Project appearing on the Intended Use Plan Project Listing is eligible for a subsidy under the CCIWPF. This subsidy is in addition to, not in place of, any financial assistance awarded under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program.  We will keep you advised as we progress on this matter.
  5. At the Town Council meeting on March 7, 2024, we conducted a workshop regarding private roads. The presentation included a brief history, a summary of private roads, and potential future action to be taken regarding taking of private roads.  Town staff will proceed as followed based on past and the most recent direction from Town Council:
    1. Continue to bring batches of roadway easements for sewer installation on private roads in the continuing efforts to secure State Revolving Fund eligibility for any and all sewer construction projects as outlined in the Town Council approved Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.
    2. Discuss with Town Council during the FY 2025 Capital Budget hearings whether to proceed with use of Special Revenue Funds created by Special Legislation (2014) for Sewer Construction and Private Way Maintenance and Improvement or to proceed with the layout and acceptance of private roads proposed in FY 2025 CIP and once accepted included as public roads in the Town Pavement Management Program.
    3. Proceed with conducting a pavement conditions assessment of public and private roads to better understand the financial implications of taking private roads and adding said roads into the public road inventory.
    4. Notify Town Council when/if a new road is being proposed in Barnstable so that a further discussion can occur regarding whether said road should be accepted as a public road.
    5. Conduct another Private Roads workshop with Town Council following budget hearings to further discuss details and impacts of implementing a “Taking of Private Roads” policy. Town Manager’s Office, Legal, and DPW will continued to compile needs information to advance this discussion with Town Council.
  6. Kelly Collopy, Communications Manager for the Public Works Department, will provide an update on Water Resource Management planning including the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan. Ms. Collopy’s PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.

Mr. Ells answered additional questions from the Council.  DPW Director Dan Santos also responded to Councilor questions. Director Santos also informed the Council that the Transfer Station will be switching over to a plate reader system instead of stickers this year. The Swap Shop will be re-opening in the future.


The Council voted to approve Public Session Minutes:  March 21, 2024.


Next was Communications from elected officials, boards, committees, and staff, commission reports, correspondence and announcements.


President’s Notes

  • First Water Workshop was held on February 29th. The next one is scheduled for April 11, 2024 at 6:00 PM. The topic of this one will be PFAS. Same rules apply and no public will be admitted because of the capacity of the Hearing Room. Please submit your questions (no comments) in advance by email to by noon on Wednesday, April 10th. You can watch the Workshop on Xfinity Channel 8 or Xfinity HD 1072 or live stream on the Town’s website ( We have a pretty in depth presentation draft that we discussed recently that will include Silent Spring, the water districts, and several other speakers.
  • Saturday, March 23rd, the Rotary Home Garden & Lifestyle Show will be at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center for the first time. It is now a one day event and free to attend.


Orders of the Day.



AGENDA ITEM 2024-166 Resolve establishing certain Ad Hoc Advisory Committees

Presented by Town Attorney Karen Nober.

Attorney Nober suggested that each of the Committees be voted on independently instead of in a group.

Councilor Paul Neary made an amendment to the motion which was seconded. Go before the Appointments Committee and bring before the Town Council to be ratified. Amendment was amended to include by May 1, 2024. The motion as amended failed.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-166A Committee to Review Town Council Rules and the Town Code
Members: 5 Councilors
Purpose: Work closely with the Town’s Legal staff to review the documents to ensure consistency with existing process and practices and recommend revisions to the Council. Time Period: Complete work and make recommendations to the Council by October 31, 2024.

The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-166B Committee to Review the Purpose, Composition, Functionality and Effectiveness of the Standing Committees of the Town
Members: 5 Councilors
Purpose: Work with Town staff to review the standing committees of the Town, particularly advisory committees, to determine their effectiveness and whether there is a current need for such committees. Time Period: Complete work and make recommendations to the Council by March 31, 2025.

The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-166C Committee to Review and Assess Zoning and Review the Town’s Use of Regulatory Agreements
Members: 5 Councilors and may include up to 4 registered voters in the Town (provided that the total membership shall be an odd number)
Purpose: Work with the Town’s Planning & Development staff to review and reassess recently adopted zoning changes, review the Town’s use of regulatory agreements, and make recommendations to the Council. Time Period: Complete work and make recommendations to the Council by October 31, 2024.

Councilor Jeff Mendes joined the meeting via Zoom. President Penn announced that all votes going forward will be roll call.

The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-166D Committee to Assess and Recommend Strategies for Housing Creation Within the Town
Members: 5 Councilors; may include member from the Planning Board, 1 member from the Housing Committee and 1 member from the Comprehensive Financial Advisory Committee; may include up to 3 registered voters in the Town (provided that the total membership shall be an odd number)
Purpose: Recommend strategies for the creation of housing to serve year-round residents and seasonal workers. The committee shall review the Cape Cod Commission’s Regional Housing Strategy, the proposed state housing bond bill, and the Town’s Housing Production Plan, with a goal of recommending 2-4 strategies for the Town to adopt, along with recommendations for implementation and resources needed. Time Period: Complete work and make recommendations to the Council by September 30, 2024.

The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-166E Committee to Recommend Policy with Respect to the Town’s Acquisition and Disposition of Property and Development of Town-Owned Property
Members: 5 Councilors and up to 4 registered voters in the Town (provided that the total membership shall be an odd number)
Purpose: Develop recommendations for Town policy on the acquisition and disposition of property and the development of Town-owned property. Time Period: Complete work and make recommendations to the Council by March 31, 2025

Amendment to have this as a Town Councilor only committee was approved.

The item as amended was approved.



AGENDA ITEM 2024-167 Acceptance of a gift of a used Ping Pong table to support the Hyannis Youth and Community Center. The item may be viewed here.

Presented by Community Services Director Chris Gonnella. The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-168 Appointment to a Board/Committee/Commission: Comprehensive Financial Advisory Committee: Thomas Keane, as a regular member, to a term expiring 06/30/2026

A motion to suspend the rules to accept this appointment on a first read was approved.

Presented by Town Councilor Kristen Terkelsen. The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-169 Resolve approving a letter regarding the Veteran Tax Work-Off Program

Presented by Town Attorney Karen Nober. The item was approved.

AGENDA ITEM 2024-170 Order to petition the General Court of the Commonwealth to enact special legislation exempting the position of Police Chief in the Town of Barnstable from the Civil Service Law.

Presented by Town Attorney Karen Nober. Human Resources Director Bill Cole was on hand if Councilors had questions. The item was approved.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-171 Order authorizing an Intermunicipal Agreement among the Towns of Barnstable, Yarmouth, and Sandwich for the purposes of establishing a regional emergency communications center hosted by and located within the Town of Barnstable received a First Reading and was referred to a Second Reading on 04/04/2024.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-172 Amending the Code of the Town of Barnstable, Part I General Ordinances, Chapter 1 General Provisions, Article I Non-Criminal Enforcement of violations, and inserting a new Chapter 185 known as “Stormwater Management and Illicit Discharge Control was referred to a Public Hearing on 04/04/2024.


AGENDA ITEM 2024-173 Authorization to expend a META-12 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources in the amount of $15,000 for the purpose of funding assistance on energy related projects or renewable energy planning and feasibility evaluations.

Presented by David Anthony, Director of Asset Management. The item was approved.


Prior to adjournment, Town Manager Mark Ells made a clarification about the first item on his Town Manager Communications as there was some confusion as a couple of appointments have come up. The Cape Cod Regional Technical High School appointment belongs to the Town Council. The appointment for the Cape Cod Commission falls to the Town Manager. Even though it is not required, the Cape Cod Commission position will be appointed by the Town Manager and ratified by the Town Council.


The next regularly scheduled Town Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 4, 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:  The meeting Agenda will be available on the Town of Barnstable’s website (