Statement issued by County Commissioner Ron Beaty concerning the Fiscal 2021 Barnstable County Budget...
Barnstable, MA - Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty today voted against the Proposed FY’21 County Budget Ordinances which in total will amount to close to $30 Million in expenditure of public funds in the next fiscal year.
Beaty stated, “As public servants, we have a fiduciary duty to maintain fiscal responsibility and budgetary constraint as part of remaining transparent and accountable to the voters, taxpayers and residents of Cape Cod.”
Beaty continued, “With that said, it is my contention that prior to this stage, sensible cuts needed to be made to the proposed FY ’21 Budget in order to keep it ‘level funded’ compared to prior years, while at the same time maintaining the respective services provided to the fifteen towns of the County by our Cape Cod Regional Government.“
Commissioner Beaty stated, “Putting it bluntly, the budget review process was sadly lacking this year. Also, based upon the fiscal data, budgetary overview and information provided to the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners by County staff, speaking as only one individual County Commissioner, it is has been my observation and assessment that the overall budget increases which were presented to us are excessive and unnecessary.”
Beaty went on, “Furthermore, the budgetary review process has been clouded and convoluted to the detriment of ascertaining accurate fiscal data and information. Percentage increases have bounced back and forth like a fiscal ping pong ball within a matter of days without clear explanation as to why.”
Beaty explained, “The Board of County Commissioners has not been provided with a sheet with prudent budget cut recommendations by staff like we traditionally have been.”
Beaty went on, “Though requested by the Commissioners to do so last week, the approximate $500,000 expected expenditure in the upcoming Fiscal Year for Fire Training Academy Cleanup efforts have not been added to the Proposed FY’21 County Budget. That alone reflects a half million discrepancy in the Proposed FY’21 County Budget.”
Beaty said, “Keeping in mind that our Cape Cod Regional Government just implemented an early retirement program, thus shedding 21 employees from its rolls and supposedly saving $250,000 a year, here are a few examples of issues that I question within the Proposed FY’21 County Budget. The Cape Cod Commission proposed budget is over a million dollars above its budget from two years ago in 2019. Additionally, the Facilities Department is increasing its annual budget by $569,187 from what it was in FY’19, and the Department of Health and Environment astonishingly is asking for an amount that is also well in excess of a half million dollars from two years ago. Both the Finance Department and the Human Services Department respectively are seeking amounts in FY’21 that are about a quarter million dollars more than they each received in Fiscal Year 2019.”
County Commissioner Beaty propounded, “In reality, the truth of the matter is that in totality, the Barnstable County Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 is going to be in close to $30 Million. Along with the aforementioned problems with the budget review process, the total budget amount is NOT made clear to the public nor to those charged with the budget review process, ie. the County Commissioners, and down the road, possibly the Assembly of Delegates.”
Beaty clarified, “At this juncture, matters are overly convoluted in that the unclear $20 Million operating budget contained in the Proposed Ordinance is supposedly based upon anticipated revenues. Moreover, the Cape Cod Commission proposed budget of approximately $5.7 Million is reflected in a separate proposed Budget Ordinance. Additionally, though it is much less of an issue because it is an Enterprise Account, the Dredge Proposed Budget of about $1.9 Million is also a separate proposed budget ordinance as well. Finally, the Capital Budget is also a separate budget ordinance.”
Beaty summed up, “For the reasons stated, I find that as a fiscal and government watchdog, I had no choice but to vote in opposition to the bloated FY’21 County Budget as presented and proposed.”