Barnstable County Tackles How to Rollout ARPA Funds

 

HYANNIS – The Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates are tackling how the rollout of the American Rescue Plan Act funds will look as the region continues to wrestle with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, eligible uses for ARPA money includes funding public health systems for COVID vaccination efforts, testing and contract tracing and investing in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure. 

Funds can also be used to address negative economic stress on small businesses and disproportionately impacted communities and replacing lost public sector revenue, including premium pay to employees providing essential work during the pandemic. 

In total, Barnstable County towns have received over $26 million in ARPA Direct Municipal Aid and the county itself received over $41 million in ARPA funding.

Barnstable County Administrator Elizabeth Albert said that Phase 1 will run through January of next year, and will include establishing funding priorities and criteria for evaluating applications for the funds. 

The first steps of this phase is where the county currently stands in the process—establishing the exact method of application and overview that meets the U.S. Treasury’s requirements.

An online application portal will be utilized for the application process. 

Phase 2 will include further outreach and the beginning of the approval and rejection process of applications, and will run through December 2022. 

“The steps that I know of right now that are in place or are going to be in place are a review by an accounting firm that’s going to be looking at applications to make sure that they meet all the requirements of the ARPA legislation. There’s going to be a second level accounting review just to make sure that the first level is good,” Albert said. 

“We’re taking our obligation of fiduciary responsibility for this money very seriously.”

Albert said that the county is still figuring out the next step of the application process, but all funding requests will ultimately require her and the county commissioners’ sign-off.

Phase 3, spanning January 2024 to December 2024, will mostly focus on actually applying funding plans and performing mandated oversight and monitoring of projects to the Treasury. 

Funding applications will continue to be received and evaluated through November 30, 2024, with the online application portal closing the same day.

Disbursement of the funds and closeout is expected to be completed by December 2026.

Albert said that another update on the state of the application and distribution process will be available in November, including how the county will tie in regional funding to town funding.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.



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