The Barnstable Town Council cut to the chase last night in a special meeting devoted to the budget. Without public comment or announcements, the council went straight to budget deliberations, and more than four hours later, they had approved about $44 million in department budgets.
Council members asked a wide range of questions of department heads, but when it came time to vote, all votes were unanimous in favor of passing the budgets, which were mostly level funded.
From the budget of the Department of Public Works, the council approved $8.7 million for the DPW General Fund; $2.6 million for the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund; $5 million for the Pollution Control Enterprise Fund; and $3.2 million for the Water Supply Enterprise Fund
The council approved $7.4 million for the Airport Enterprise Fund. The council also approved a transfer of $250,000 to increase funding for the construction of the aircraft parking ramp, a previously approved project with increased costs.
The Regulatory Services budget of $2.4 million was approved, as was the Growth Management budget of $887,000.
Jo Ann Miller Buntich, director of the Growth Management Department, received the most stern questioning of the night when Town Councilor James H. Crocker Jr. pressed her on whether grant funding that her department uses in part for staff support was being used to pay back the town for the telephone and heat services those staffers use. He said that since her department received a majority of its funding from the general fund, rather than generating its own income, he wanted to make sure the taxpayers were reimbursed.
Ms. Buntich responded that she was not sure if grant funds could be used for that purpose but that she would look into it.
She also said her staff had been reduced over the past several years to a point where she is concerned about the workload and she will be returning to the council in the future with a “staffing strategy.”
In the Community Services Department, the following budgets were approved: General Services at $2.6 million; Golf Course Enterprise Fund at $3.1 million; Hyannis Youth & Community Fund at $2.8 million; Marina Enterprise Fund at $652,000; and Sandy Neck Park Enterprise Fund at $658,000.
The council also approved the Administrative Services Department budget, which includes the finance department, legal department, human services, assessing and information technology for a total of $5.4 million.
An $160,000 line item for Other Grants was approved, which includes a tourism grant and the Lombard Land lease.
Still to come at next week’s council meeting are the remaining budget items, including the town council budget of $340,000 and the Town Manager budget of $573,000, as well as Debt Services and Employee Benefits and Insurance.
At the last council meeting on May 20, the council had approved budgets for the schools, police and libraries.