Assembly of Delegates - 2016


Barnstable Delegate PATRICK PRINCI Record on Assembly
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3. Protecting Barnstable Representation/Opposing County Budget/County Matters, July 1, 2013 Traditions and reverence for our heritage are so important. Each year, I attend the annual 4th of July Parades in Barnstable Village and Hyannis as I have done since I was a young boy. I now enjoy the same experience with my family. In this "me, me" generation, it is important for us to take a moment to remember our country's fight for independence, in large part over objections to taxation without representation.

"Taxation without representation is tyranny" spoke Barnstable's Revolutionary hero, James Otis Jr.

Recently after hearing comments made by County Commissioner Lyons, who espoused that the weighted vote in the Assembly of Delegates was unconstitutional and that one man, one vote is constitutional, I was taken aback. Some lower Cape towns pay around 1% of the County budget and should not have an equal vote to Barnstable, which pays around 20%. The fairness of the weighted vote is beyond obvious.

The Town of Barnstable population is 20 times that of many upper Cape towns and the amount of our taxes and revenues far exceeds most other towns. In this case the minority of residents should not be able to decide for the majority. To suggest that small towns should have the same say as Barnstable suggests tyranny. I have been following the charter review meetings and will speak out on your behalf if an unfair and disproportionate framework is advanced by the Charter Commission.

This past May I opposed the county budget as presented to the Assembly because of some needless spending. During the hearings I spoke out against a new permanent position to help coordinate Human Service agencies. The cost now and in the future would be over $50,000 per year. Barnstable works closely with many Human Service agencies and has people in place to work those issues. I spoke with human service advocates to determine what recourses are available to the County and whether County Government needs an assist. After that dialogue, I was not convinced the position was needed and cost effective. I appreciate all of the hard work and dedication of the County's staff, but based on the financial strains on our present budget that money should not be spent. The new position passed on a close budget vote.

The budget as a whole was extensively and thoroughly debated, and the proportionate vote helped keep the process fair and reasonable.

Now and in the immediate future, the County will be grappling with water quality and waste water issues, which will determine the future of our single source aquifer. I recognize that our present budget decisions and improving future revenues will impact those decisions. The responsibility to preserve the peninsula should be shared proportionately, fairly, and thoughtfully.

I will continue to be watchful on how our contributions are voted and spent. We learned a hard lesson from previous years (FY12) when expected revenues prompted overspending, which were funded with reserve funds. We have to be more responsible and increase our reserves to meet pressing future needs, which may include millions of dollars in water treatment and water quality. As we look for funding through the state and federal governments, we must spend wisely now. We will have to act to protect our environment so our children and grand children can enjoy what we now cherish.

The ARC (Aquaculture Recourse Center) is under discussion by the County Commissioners in executive sessions. I look forward to more open and public debate, perhaps to include partnering with University of Massachusetts to help manage and preserve our coastal resources. When the Commissioners make their proposals public, I will meet with the Shellfish Advisory Committee and local recreational shell fisherman to solicit their input before stating Barnstable's position to the Assembly.

I have served on the County Assembly for a year and appreciate the opportunity to represent (with your input) the Town's positions. I strive to work closely with the town leaders and residents to best reflect our interests.

Congratulation to David Still for his new position with the Cape Cod Commission. Paul Niedzwiecki is fortunate to have David's talents, personality, and intelligence working on behalf of the County.

Lastly please join my monthly breakfast hour at the Daily Paper on West Main St. in Hyannis today and every first Friday of the month from 6:30 to 7:30 am. If you can't make it please email me with your viewpoint at

4. Water Quality Vote/County Matters - July 1, 2013
County Government matters when towns work together through the Cape Cod Commission, our regional planning authority, to achieve cost effective and consistent regional while navigating cumbersome state regulations. The recent designation of the fertilizer management DCPC (District of Critical Planning Concern) is a good example of this.

We are blessed with the greatest water purifying system in the region (our sole source aquifer) and water quality is paramount. The towns of Orleans and Falmouth adopted local ordinances relative to fertilizer management; however the Attorney General's office informed Orleans and Falmouth that since our region has a planning authority such regulation must go through the Cape Cod Commission. With that directive, the Cape Cod Commission on July 25 accepted for consideration a nomination for a Cape wide Fertilization Management District of Critical Planning Concern. This designation, approved by of the Assembly of Delegates on September 18th permits all Cape towns to develop coordinated, consistent, and necessary Fertilization Management practices. I fully supported the DCPC and sincerely believe that the towns will develop fair and reasonable measures to protect our drinking water, without having to adhere to states regulations, which may not address our unique situation. Towns across the county are currently developing uniform board of health regulations. If town leaders decide not to accept these regulations and do nothing, they will not be penalized; however they must follow the state regulations. If I had voted no, our towns could not develop their own regulations addressing local needs.

Prior to the designation I spent many hours speaking with landscape companies, environmental advocates, chemical suppliers, and boards of health. In my view education will be the biggest component to this issue.

Most reputable landscape companies are trained and licensed to promote the best fertilizer management practices and know how much fertilizer to apply and when to apply it. I think it will enhance their businesses as more people will leave the applications to the professionals.

About ten years ago when I worked as a legislative aide to Senator O'Leary helping with public health issues, we attempted to have some of the leading fertilizer distributers do more to educate home owners on how to best apply fertilizer. This was very difficult because Scotts and other companies would rather spend more on advertising to get people to over apply than promote fertilizer management. The more bags they sell, the greater their profit. Our efforts then and the DCPC now are not an effort to ban fertilizer. Rather the intent of the DCPC is to give the towns control and educate homeowners and landscapers to ensure proper and safe application.

Since the Legislature began taking an interest in regulating the industry, manufacturers are becoming proactive, promoting education, and even working to develop grass seed that may require less watering and fertilization. Waste water is the biggest contributor to our clean/safe drinking water problem. Fertilizer application is second. We are aggressively addressing the primary polluter, latter and need to act responsibility to address the secondary pollutant though simple low cost measures to help reduce the nitrogen loading in our waters.

My brother Brendan owns a landscape company and he is keenly aware of the need for safe and appropriate fertilization. He knows that this is not a ban on fertilizer, as the soothsayers warn. Brendan knows that his regular fishing time with his son Jackson will be affected if we do not protect our lakes and ponds. Those "hot spots" for freshwater fishing will degrade and dry up unless we protect the water quality. We need to take smart steps forward to preserve our environment for the children of our children's children.

In our next meeting the Assembly will be taking action on supplemental budget items. Revenues as anticipated are higher and based on what was presented at the last finance committee the County is ready to take action on some additional spending items. Some supplemental items can wait until next year's budget. I will report on our actions in my next article. As I have said before, we should be restoring our reserve funds.

If you are reading this early please join me at my monthly "Breakfast Hour" today and every first Friday of the month from 6:30 to 7:30am at the Daily Paper on West Main St. Hyannis or contact me at

5. Charter Review Vote/County Matters 2/2014
County matters when groups of people get together with a common goal, to offer changes that can improve the operation of county Government. Over the past few years this was done through the Special Commission on County Government and the County Charter Review Commission. Both entities were made up of group of diverse and distinguished individuals from all areas of Barnstable County.

Recently the County Charter Review Commission after much deliberation and many public hearings presented to the Assembly of Delegates part one of their proposal. It abolished the Assembly of Delegates and the County Commissioners and replaced it with 11 district representatives. If this had passed the Assembly of Delegates, you would have had the opportunity as a voter to weigh in at the ballot box on how you feel the county would best be governed. In a close vote the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee did not pass

I voted yes because either way Barnstable residents would not lose out on fair representation at the county level. It could appear to be self serving not to allow voters to have an opportunity to vote on the possibility of abolishing the Governmental Body in which I serve. The argument was that the smaller towns in Barnstable County will lose their voice as many will be combined with others in one district. It was my understanding the idea of districts was generated because with the current weighted vote the small town could lose out to the larger towns. In my time with the Assembly I have witnessed all towns working together for the betterment of the region. It is too bad the rational of giving the votes a say was lost in a large town vs. small town argument. Part two will be voted on prior to my submission and it calls for an elected county administrator.

The fiscal year 2015 budget is being discussed now by the County Commissioners. This will be my second budget and I'll continue to support water quality issues, building our county reserve funds and programs that deliver services to county residents.

There is a movement underway town by town to abolish the Cape Cod Commission. I think this is a bad idea. I encourage other towns in Barnstable County that want more control of projects in their community to work with the Cape Cod Commission and do what we did in Barnstable and establish Growth Incentive Zones. By following the road map of the Regional Policy Plan towns and developers can circumvent commission review in these areas. A recent example of this in our town is the Harbor View Hotel and Suites of which recently was referred to the Town Council by the Planning Board after thorough review. I do feel a discussion on elected commission representatives has merit.

As the budget review by the Assembly of Delegates approaches please contact me with any questions or concerns at or join me every first Friday of the month for my Breakfast Hour at the Daily Paper on West Main St. in Hyannis.

6. Support of Towns Working Together County Matters 4/30/14
County Matters when towns in Barnstable County work together to address mutual problems. This is prevalent in the Barnstable Street Crimes Unit. Together the towns of Barnstable, Yarmouth, Mashpee and our County Sheriff work together to address crime through the efforts of the Street Crimes Unit.

I grew up on Tanager Rd in Hyannis back then I enjoyed spending time on Main St. Hyannis today I can experience those same memories with my family. Local leaders and developers have invested in infrastructure improving the downtown through mixed use re-development projects to further enhance the downtown area. We are lucky to have so many dining, entertainment and shopping options year round in such close proximity.

Hyannis has always been the Hub of the County and over the years has seen some of the city type problems, Crime. Under the leadership of Chief McDonald the Street Crime Unit was established and has been making difference in safer streets. All officers in this unit are sworn deputy sheriffs who can make arrests across town boundaries. Barnstable devotes the majority of the resources and Yarmouth, Mashpee, the State Police and the Sheriff all support by paying for their officers. Like wastewater crime too transcends town boundaries and many of the major crimes being done in Hyannis are not people who live in Barnstable.

In past years the county budget had devoted funding to serve the human service needs by appropriations to agencies that serve the region that are based in Hyannis. Now our county has a Human Service Department that works hard to successfully bring in outside funding through grants that can be distributed accordingly. A priority of the County Human Service agency is to address substance abuse and evidence proves that treatment and enforcement are components. We may not be winning the war on drugs but we must fight every battle because we a losing too many young people to the epidemic.

Recently the Street Crimes Unit met with the County Commissioners to explain their work and town and agency collaboration as well as the success they have had in the region. In my view when towns are independently working together and have improved the quality of life the county should be open to support them. The dialog and questions by County Commissioners as they look at ways to address the county substance abuse problem was encouraging.

Next week the Assembly will be voting on the county budget and with a recent hiring of a County Administrator our Finance director was able to be available to explain all justification for increases. Our budget is on the county web site and please contacts me to discuss any questions you may have at The committee process was effective and our speaker asked departments with larger increases to come before the full Assembly to answer questions prior to the final vote next week. One of the increases was in the IT department budget partly because of the licensing fees with Microsoft; it is a complicated matter in the contract negotiations especially since we are dealing with a monopoly, and the finance director and IT director were available to explain.

My wife and I had another son last month, Sean Patrick, a true motivation to work hard to improve and restore the quality of life growing up on Cape Cod as I knew it. Please join me at my monthly Breakfast Hour the first Friday of every month from 6:30am to 7:30am at the Daily Paper on West Main St and we can discuss county matters.



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