Councilor Column

Written by Jessica Rapp Grassetti                                      

So much for escaping winter and having it quietly pass us by! As much as we could have done without Juno’s wrath, we were fortunate that most of us did not lose power, internet or phone service. The driving ban, implemented by the Governor was a great help in managing the blizzard of 2015 and with spring but forty-nine days away hopefully winter has lost its grip.

In February the Cape Cod Commission will hold a two-day meeting continuing with the update of the Area Wide Water Quality Management Plan also called the 208. The primary focus of which is to address excessive nitrogen entering our embayments, will bring together the region’s policy makers in an effort to collaborate in local water quality planning. In my opinion, the single biggest issues that this summit will address are the costs and the revenue needed to protect and preserve our quality of life. Hopefully this effort will produce substantive results as much has been talked about for a long time and an argument can be made that it is time for action. Unfortunately, if we don’t move ahead we may well find the Federal Government forcing our hand. I welcome any input on this complicated and sensitive challenge.

As the President of the Town Council it is my responsibility to vote on behalf of Barnstable with regards to resolutions proposed at the recent Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Annual Meeting. There three resolutions accepted were; investments in municipal capital projects that create economic growth and the protection of health & safety, ensuring strong partnership in FY 2016 and beyond between State Government and the Cities and Towns and a sustainable personnel management system to provide excellent services by prudent use of taxpayer dollars managed at the local level. This last resolution brings up the issue of what is called unfunded mandates. These are regulations that require the Town to provide goods and or services without having a revenue stream to cover them. For instance, a sizable obligation for a coastal community is the regulations on storm water systems. Barnstable is required to maintain over four thousand catch basins for storm-water run-off from roads at a cost in excess of $80,000 a year. For the Town to continue to maintain and provide these mandated services without adequate funding is unacceptable. We need to be clear with our Legislators that we cannot afford to accept these mandates without requisite funding.

Deteriorating infrastructure continues to create enormous pressure on the local taxpayer. We can thank the newly elected Governor for releasing the entire $300 million dollars in Chapter 90 transportation aid funding. Barnstable’s increased share, in excess of a million dollars, will certainly help in addressing the numerous projects from road repair, equipment purchases, engineering services and even tree planting within our community.

Focusing on Precinct 7, I would very much appreciate any citizen concerns regarding our Village. Every year the Town’s Department Heads do an onsite tour to identify and respond to safety and quality of life issues and the 2015 “List of Cotuit Concerns” is in the process of being drafted. I have my own list but welcome and need input from all. A major issue of pedestrian safety along our roads will have a follow up meeting in March or April at Freedom Hall. Planning efforts are underway for crosswalks and “traffic calming”. Draft regulations are in process by the Waterways Committee regarding the size and storage of vessels at Ropes beach. Simply put, there isn’t enough room for everyone to store any sized boat on the water’s edge. Let me know your thoughts. There is still time for public comment and suggestions regarding this issue.

Soon, the many efforts, lead by Jaci Barton and her team from the Barnstable Land Trust will come before the Town Council for a vote on the appropriation of funds for the acquisition of land surrounding Lowell Park. The first reading, on February 5, will give the public notice of the project to protect the 19 acres and the second reading will be open for public comment. This preservation project is arguably one of the most important quality of life and environment acquisitions for the Village. I unequivocally support it and urge my fellow citizens to do the same.

Please take the opportunity to stop by and discuss any Village or Town issue on the second Wednesday of every month from 3-5pm at the Cotuit Library. The next scheduled meeting is February 11. You may also reach me anytime at (508) 360-2504 or weekdays at Town Hall (508) 862-4738. Email Precinct7@comcast.net or for web updates and information follow me at www.BarnstablePrecinct7.com. I look forward to your questions and concerns and always welcome your suggestions and ideas! Be sure to check on your neighbors and friends and keep your pets safe too!

Your Town Councilor, Jessica

Storm Clean-Up Underway

Cotuit Town Dock Parking Lot

Cotuit Town Dock Parking Lot

Cotuit Town Dock

Cotuit Town Dock

Jan 28, 2015 12:30 PM – DPW continues to work on clearing the main roads. This afternoon we will also be opening them wider and treating the mains with salt mixture. Beginning this evening, we plan to undertake snow removal on secondary roads. Our normal contractors will not be able to tackle this job as much of their equipment is just too small for the task. This work will be undertaken by DPW crews and involve a front end loader and plow combination. We have numerous teams and dozens of pieces of equipment that will fan out across all the Town’s villages. We appreciate your patience in not calling to ask about a specific road. If you have an emergency, call 911 and public safety officials will coordinate any necessary access.

Jan 28, 2015  7:20 AM – DPW crews continue to work on the main roads. Using front end loaders through the night, we were able to clear enough to get our plows back on the mains. We will continue work on the mains throughout the day with DPW crews and contractors. We will begin addressing secondary roads once the mains have been addressed. At best, this will not occur until this evening. THE TOWN MANAGER HAS CLOSED ALL TOWN OFFICES, INCLUDING THE TRANSFER STATION TODAY. We are doing the best we can and will address all roads. Please try not to call the DPW to ask when a particular road will be plowed, as right now we will not be able to provide that information. If you have an emergency call 911.

EMERGENCY SHELTER OPEN

EMERGENCY SHELTERS OPEN TONIGHT

All 6 regional shelters will open at 6:30pm this evening. Locations are:

* Barnstable Intermediate School, 895 Falmouth Road, Barnstable

* Dennis-Yarmouth High School, 210 Station Avenue, South Yarmouth

* Sandwich High School, 365 Quaker Meetinghouse Road, Sandwich

* Falmouth High School, 874 Gifford Street, Falmouth

* Cape Cod Regional Technical School, 351 Pleasant Lake Avenue, Harwich
* Nauset Regional High School, 100 Cable Road, Eastham
A reminder that if using a shelter, please bring medication for at least 3 days with you. Pets are welcome. Transportation to the shelter by the Barnstable Police Department will be available by calling 508-775-0837, ext. 8. However, transportation MAY NOT be available during the height of the storm.

ALERT!

Travel Ban

BLIZZARD

Last updated at January 26, 2015 01:27 PM

Governor Baker has signed an Executive Order allowing for the enforcement of a statewide travel ban effective at midnight. The following exceptions shall exist for the ban and all drivers are encouraged to remain safe and use their best judgment:

  • Essential emergency response professionals
  • Medical, healthcare and human service workers, including shelter personnel
  • Essential public transit and support workers
  • Public and private personnel supporting public works and utility operations
  • Essential state employees
  • Those traveling for essential medical procedures
  • Vehicles and personnel delivering essential supplies to healthcare facilities.

The travel ban will be lifted on a county by county basis as conditions allow, and exemptions to the travel ban are as follows:

  • Public safety vehicles, sworn and civilian public safety personnel, including those providing services at correctional facilities, and private sector security personnel
  • Public works vehicles and public works personnel, including contract personnel supporting public works operations
  • Public transportation vehicles and public transportation personnel, including contract personnel supporting public transportation operations
  • Government personnel conducting official business
  • Utility company vehicles and personnel, including contract personnel supporting utility response and restoration efforts
  • Personnel directly supporting storm response operations, including but not limited to emergency shelter personnel
  • Personnel supporting human services facilities, including but not limited to residential housing programs and human services shelter operations
  • Healthcare personnel, including home healthcare personnel and personal care assistants
  • Personnel delivering or supporting services at healthcare facilities, including those that provide long term care and mental health care, as well as hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Vehicles and personnel providing critical supplies to healthcare facilities, including those that provide long term care and mental health care, as well as hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • News media
  • Private sector snow removal equipment engaged in, or traveling in connection with the removal or clearance of snow and ice from public or private sector facilities
  • Patients traveling for the purpose of receiving urgent critical care, and persons traveling with those patients who are necessary to facilitate that urgent critical care
  • Travel necessary to maintain critical private sector facilities, services and operations, and to deliver or support critical private sector services and supplies in critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, fuel, financial systems, and the provision of critical commodities
  • Travel to support business operations that provide critical services to the public, including gasoline stations, pharmacies, food stores and hardware stores

WINTER STORM JUNO ALERT

Blizzard Warning for Barnstable and Dukes Counties, MA

A crippling and potentially historic Blizzard will impact the area mainly from late today into Tuesday, lingering into early Wednesday.

Blizzard Warning remains in effect from 7 pm this evening to noon EST Tuesday.

  • Locations: Cape Cod and the Islands.
  • Hazard types: Heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions. Considerable blowing and drifting snow. Strong to damaging winds.
  • Accumulations: snow accumulations of around 10 to 18 inches. With higher amounts towards the Cape Cod Canal. Snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches will be possible at times.
  • Timing: while the storm is expected late today lingering into early Wednesday, the worst of the storm will be tonight through Tuesday afternoon. There will be a period where heavy snow will change over to rain, mainly during the day Tuesday. Before changing back over to snow. Especially on the outer arm of Cape Cod.
  • Impacts: Heavy snow and strong winds will result in White-out / blizzard conditions with near zero visibility at times. Travel will be impossible and life threatening across the entire region. Also snow will be wet enough to result in downed trees and power outages in addition to the hurricane force winds.
  • Winds: North-northeast 35 to 45 mph with gusts around 70 to 80 mph. The height of the winds will be late tonight into Tuesday.
  • Visibilities: one quarter mile or less at times.

A Blizzard Warning is issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts over 35 mph are expected with considerable falling and/or blowing and drifting snow. Visibilities will become poor with Whiteout conditions at times. Those venturing outdoors may become lost or disoriented, so persons in the warning area are advised to stay indoors.

All unnecessary travel is discouraged beginning Monday afternoon. To allow people already on the road to safely reach their destination before the heavy snow begins, and to allow snow removal equipment to begin to clear roads.

Upcoming Precinct 7 & Town Meetings – JANUARY

Cotuit Civic Association Board Meeting – Tuesday January 6, 7pm, Cotuit Library

Town Council Meeting -Thursday January 8, 7pm, Town Hall

Roads Sub-Committee Meeting – Monday January 12, 5:30pm, Town Hall

Monthly Precinct 7 Open Meeting – Wednesday January 14, 3 – 5pm, Cotuit Library

Appointments Committee Interviews & Meeting – Tuesday January 13, 5:30pm, Town Hall

Town Manager Review Committee Meeting – Thursday January 22, 6pm, Town Hall

Town Council Meeting – Thursday January 22, 7pm, Town Hall

Cotuit Fire District Special Meeting – Thursday January 22, 7:30, Freedom Hall

Massachusetts Municipal Association Annual Meeting & Conference – January 23-25, Hynes Convention,  Boston