The Question of the Cape Cod Commission…
Should the voters be allowed to decide if they think that their town should consider withdrawing from the Cape Cod Commission?
The Cape Cod Commission claims that it lives within its means. This is nothing less than an outright fabrication because first it is based upon the false premise that the Commission earns the funding that it brings in, and second that it produces something of concrete value. It does not do either of these things.
The funds upon which it functions are taxpayer-generated dollars and public subsidies in the form of government grants and/or earmarks from fees and taxes generated by real estate transactions or paid directly from the respective Cape Cod towns.
The Commission is an expensive and unnecessary layer of county government bureaucracy which hampers economic development, has created zero private sector jobs, zero affordable housing units, and zero new business start-ups. They are appointed by county and municipal officials, not directly elected by the voters, and as a result are not accountable to anyone but themselves despite having enormous power over Cape Cod residents.
Their various activities inefficiently duplicate the functions of existing federal and state agencies, as well as local town departments, boards and committees like the planning board, building department, zoning board of appeals, licensing authority, water quality commission, and historic commission among many others.
Please be advised that recent staff information and data being publicly promoted by Cape Cod Commission officials is little more than “juggling of the numbers” and in fact is quite misleading. Of more important interest is that according to the Commission’s own official annual reports, since Fiscal Year 2012 they have cut the number of staff devoted to Economic Development from four down to one! This is despite the fact that economic development is listed as one of their three chief purposes within their mission statement and the Cape Cod Commission Act…
Moreover, when hiring additional staff, they allocated those new employees to other less vital areas of the organization such as public relations so that they could improve their self-styled marketing to the community and outside world…in other words to try and justify their existence…
Since about 2006 the Cape Cod Commission has repeatedly been the recipient of approximately $290,000 (or more) per year in grant funds from the Cape Cod Economic Development Council. Rather than going to assisting individual small business start-ups as the Cape Cod license plate revenue was originally intended, these funds appear to have been horrifically squandered and wasted each year by the Commission with the endless preparation and updating of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). As an example of the good that these funds could actually have done, 29 separate small businesses could have been helped to get off of the ground each year with a $10,000 grant each,…instead of outside consultants and contractors being hired by the Cape Commission at a total cost of many hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce a bureaucratic study of highly questionable and dubious usefulness to Cape Codders!
Finally, because of the bureaucratic red tape associated with managing the Cape Cod license plate process, it is truly unfortunate that our egalitarian County Assembly of Delegates, our honorable Boards of Selectmen and the democratically elected Barnstable Town Council have absolutely no say or control as to where our how these public funds are distributed. This needs to change so that accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility will begin to become the rule and not the exception at the wasteful and spendthrift Cape Cod Commission.