View frequently asked questions (FAQ) for Town of Barnstable.

General Questions

How do I purchase Barnstable Bonds?

Step 1 - Learn about the bonds

Read the Preliminary Official Statement (POS) available from this web site or from the participating brokers to learn more about the bonds, including their security, maturity dates, credit ratings, the types of projects they finance and other information that you may find important to help you make an informed investment decision. This website is not an offer to sell any bonds.

Step 2 - Open a brokerage account

You must have an account with one of the brokerage firms participating in the bond sale, or with another firm that can place an order through a brokerage firm participating in the bond sale. Please check to determine if your broker can place an order through the participating brokers. (If you have a brokerage account, go to Step 3.) If you do not have an account, you may open one and purchase bonds during the Retail Sale Order Period. A list of brokers participating in the sale can be found on the left side of this page.

Investors are encouraged to begin the New Account process well in advance of the sale date. Depending on the brokerage firm, internal new account procedures may take some time to process.

Step 3 - Place your order

Contact the broker with whom you have an account, either online or by phone, to get more information about how to buy bonds during the Retail Sales period. Discuss with the broker the number of bonds, the maturity date and the price at which you are willing to purchase the bonds, as well as any questions you may have from examining the Preliminary Official Statement (POS).

What is the difference between the Town’s Capital Program and Capital Budget?

The capital program is the town’s planning and fiscal management tool that spans five years.  The capital program identifies capital items, which are defined as tangible assets or projects that cost more than $50,000 and that have a minimal useful life span of at least 3 years, provides a planning schedule, and offers financing options.  The capital budget is the upcoming year's spending plan for capital items presented to the Town Council for approval.

How does the town finance its capital program?

The town uses a combination cash and debt financing to fund its capital program. Cash financing is provided from various town reserves including General Fund and Enterprise Fund reserves, a Capital Trust Fund and a Sewer Construction & Private Way Maintenance and Improvement Fund. Projects not financed with cash from one of these funds will be financed with a loan otherwise known as a municipal bond. The town may also issue betterments or assessments to direct property abutters for improvements made that benefit a specific area in town.

How are loans or municipal bonds repaid?

The annual loan payments for a municipal bond are included in that annual operating budget of the town. The annual operating budget includes the General Fund and the town’s nine Enterprise Funds. If the loan issued was for an enterprise fund project the annual loan payment is included in the respective Enterprise Fund’s operating budget. Loan repayments may also be included in the annual budget of the Sewer Construction & Private Way Maintenance and Improvement Fund if the loan was issued for a capital improvement allowable under this fund.

What is the Sewer Construction & Private Way Maintenance and Improvement Fund?

This fund was created through a special act of the Massachusetts State Legislature. It authorizes the Town of Barnstable to credit 100% of the local meals excise tax and 33% of the local rooms excise tax to this fund which can then be used for any expenditure related to planning, designing and construction of sewers and other means of comprehensive wastewater management and maintenance and improvement of private ways. The fund generates in excess of $3 million annually.

What is the Capital Trust Fund?

This is a stabilization fund authorized under Chapter 44 §5B of the Massachusetts General Laws. As part of its annual General Fund operating budget the town appropriates a sum of money into this fund. The balance in the Capital Trust Fund is then used to pay a portion of the town’s annual loan payments included in the General Fund and some Enterprise Funds. This is done so by transferring a sum of cash from the Trust Fund back to the General Fund and Enterprise funds. It operates very similar to what is also known as a Debt Service Fund. The fund may also be used to make a direct cash outflow for a capital improvement.