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On behalf of The Town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, I would like to welcome you to our new investor relations website. We appreciate your interest and investment in bonds issued by Barnstable, as it allows us to make critical investments in public infrastructure throughout the Town. We are committed to maintaining our strong bond ratings, and we are also committed to being as transparent as possible with the investor community and public at large.
I hope you find this website useful as you seek to better understand the credit fundamentals of the Town of Barnstable. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with suggestions on how we can improve. Thanks again for your interest in our bond program.
Mark Milne, Director of Finance
The Town was close to finalizing the development of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget when the public health emergency occurred. Due to this unprecedented event in modern times in was unclear as to the financial impacts to the Town’s revenue stream. Questions arose as to the proposed budget and whether or not it would still be a viable spending plan. This was not like the last Great Recession. There was no precedent to measure the impact on the town’s revenue stream and the costs associated with responding to the emergency were unknown. We would need to use our collective intuition, instinct and logical rationale to modify the proposed FY 2021 budget and manage the public health emergency. As a result, the Town implemented several steps to secure its immediate financial health. Adjustments to expenditures in Fiscal Year 2020 were made including a hiring freeze, the deferment of capital projects and a reduction in discretionary spending. The Town revised downward its proposed General Fund operating budget for Fiscal Year 2021 by $4.2 million. Additionally, the Town reduced it proposed Capital Plan for Fiscal Year 2021 form $39 million to about $12 million. Revenue enhancements were also employed including the implementation of contactless payments by moving multiple permits and licenses on-line. The Town is also closely monitoring its cashflow to ensure cash resources will be available to cover projected operating and capital expenses. As the Town moves to the recovery stage of the public health emergency several strategies are being explored to manage through the crisis including:
Additionally, the Town has been the recipient of several grants from the Federal government to assist with the response to the emergency. A total of $22.9 million has been awarded to date. Most notably is an $18 million award for the Barnstable Municipal Airport which should ensure its financial stability for the next several years. An application will also be filed with FEMA to reimburse the Town for a portion of its costs associated with responding to this event. Questions regarding the Town’s response to the public health emergency can be directed to Mark Milne, Finance Director by emailing him at email@example.com .ma.us.
The Town recently received notification from the State Department of Revenue of its Free Cash Certification. Free Cash is the State’s calculation of the amount of cash in the Town’s treasury that is free of all encumbrances at the end of the fiscal year. These funds are available for appropriation. They can be used for supplemental appropriations in the current fiscal year or for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget development. Following is the official notification from the state.
Town Manager Mark Ells has submitted his recommended Fiscal Year 2021 capital budget to the Town Council which includes 49 projects totaling $39 million. Funding for the plan includes using $5.9 million is reserves, $2.6 million in grants, $900,000 of remaining funds in completed projects and $29.8 million in new borrowing authorizations.
Public hearings on the capital plan will begin March 19th at 7 PM in the James H. Crocker, Jr. Hearing Room in Town Hall and continue on April 2nd, if necessary.
Major projects include Phase II of the Barnstable High School sports fields upgrades, extending Mary Dunn Way at the airport, rehabilitation of the solids handling building at the wastewater treatment plant, continuation of the channel dredging program, design and permitting of sewer extensions, and various public roads and public facility improvements.