CAPE COD REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
(Known as Barnstable County)
ASSEMBLY OF DELEGATES
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WHAT IS THE ASSEMBLY OF DELEGATES?
The Assembly of Delegates is the legislative branch of Cape Cod Regional Government, known as Barnstable County. The Assembly of Delegates is located in First District Courthouse, Route 6A, Barnstable, MA. The office telephone is (508) 375-6761, the fax number is (508) 362-6530, and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. There are fifteen towns located within Barnstable County, and each town is duly represented on the Assembly of Delegates.
In 1989, by an Act of the Massachusetts General Court and confirmed by a majority of Barnstable County voters, the Barnstable County Home Rule Charter went into effect and the first session of the Assembly of Delegates convened. The Barnstable County Home Rule Charter authorizes a County tax to fund regional services, and each town pays a certain percentage based on its assessed valuation. This tax is in addition to the Deeds Excise Tax, received by all counties in the Commonwealth, and an assessment authorized in 1990 by an Act of the Massachusetts General Court and confirmed by a majority of Barnstable County voters for the Cape Cod Commission Environmental Protection Fund. All legislative powers of the County are vested in the Assembly of Delegates and, except as provided in the Barnstable County Home Rule Charter, the acts of the Assembly of Delegates are required to be by Ordinance. Periodically the Assembly of Delegates adopts Resolutions regarding issues of regional importance to Barnstable County.
The Assembly of Delegates consists of fifteen Delegates representing each of the towns located in Barnstable County. A Delegate’s vote is weighted based on the 2000 U.S. Decennial Census. The town of Barnstable, for example, has the largest vote of 20.92% and Truro the smallest vote of 0.93%.
Delegates are elected by the voters in each of their municipalities for a two year term. Delegates were elected for the twelfth session of the Assembly of Delegates in November 2010, and took office on January 5, 2011.
At the beginning of each legislative session of the Assembly, a Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected from its membership. The Assembly of Delegates employs a Clerk to provide legislative assistance to the Assembly. Ronald Bergstrom, the Delegate from Chatham, was elected Speaker for the twelfth session of the Assembly of Delegates. Richard Anderson, the Delegate from Bourne, was elected Deputy Speaker.
The Assembly of Delegates holds regular meetings on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 4:00 p.m. A Journal of Proceedings and/or summary of the regular meetings are available to the public. The Assembly of Delegates has Standing Committees to deal with important issues facing the County. Committee meetings are where the Assembly’s work takes place prior to regular meetings.
All meetings of the Assembly of Delegates are held in the Assembly of Delegates Chamber or Small Conference Room in the First District Courthouse, Route 6A, Barnstable, MA, unless otherwise noted. The Assembly Chamber and the Small Conference Room are available for use by others by contacting the office of the Assembly of Delegates by telephone or by email. The office will confirm the requested reservation or reply that the meeting space is not available in the same manner as the request is received.
Barnstable County Charter Review
Every five years Barnstable County must review its Home Rule Charter. By Resolution 09-02, the Assembly of Delegates established a Charter Review Committee, required by Article 9, General Provisions, Section 9-4, Periodic Review of the Barnstable County Home Rule Charter. Speaker Ron Bergstrom asked each town for a nomination to the committee, and on October 6, 2009, Speaker Bergstrom announced the names of the Charter Review Committee. The Committee held its first meeting on October 14, 2009 and concluded its work in December 2010. More information on the Charter Review Committee can be found at http://www.barnstablecounty.org/crc/
Barnstable County government has always been recognized as the exception to failing county governments in Massachusetts and has served as a model for the successful regionalization of services. The Assembly of Delegates, in conjunction with the Board of County Commissioners, the executive branch of the Cape Cod Regional Government, work together to preserve and enhance regional services in Barnstable.
There are numerous departments within the County that provide services to the towns. Each year the County publishes an Annual Report that gives a detailed analysis of programs and services performed by each department. In addition, County officials frequently meet with Boards of Selectmen to discuss the services their specific town receives from the County and other programs that are available. Using County services provides savings to the towns and the cost benefits are highlighted at these meetings.
The Cape Cod Commission is a department of Barnstable County and is funded by the Cape Cod Environmental Protection Fund. The Cape Cod Commission was created in 1990 by an Act of the Massachusetts General Court and confirmed by a majority of Barnstable County voters. The Commission was established as a regional planning and regulatory agency. The Assembly of Delegates oversees, by adoption of ordinances, regulations of the Cape Cod Commission dealing with the Regional Policy Plan, Developments of Regional Impact, and Districts of Critical Planning Concern.
Additional information about Barnstable County may be obtained by contacting the Assembly of Delegates office.