Barnstable Looking to Become a “Compact Community”

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Barnstable Town Hall.

Barnstable Town Hall.

BARNSTABLE – The town of Barnstable is looking to become a “compact community,” a state designation that gives the town access to grant funds set aside for towns that put in place initiatives that are considered best practices.

One of the projects that Barnstable Town Manager Thomas Lynch said the town is planning to pursue is part of an open government initiative to put all of the town’s budget online so that residents, taxpayers and others can examine the details of the town budget. The initiative falls under the category of technology and the sub-category of transparency.

The initiatives must be in the areas of financial management, technology, education, transportation/citizen safety, housing/economic development, energy/environment or regional cooperation.

Lynch said he is working with the heads of the town’s departments to choose one or more projects to submit to the state under the program in order to receive grant funds.

The program was one of the initiatives put forward earlier this year by Governor Charlie Baker.

When Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito visited the Cape last month, she spoke of the program and encouraged towns to participate, Lynch said.

Two million dollars in grant funds has been set aside for the program in this year’s state budget to provide “technical assistance” to towns that implement initiatives considered best practices, Lynch said.

The idea behind the “compact communities” program, according to the Baker administration, is to incentivize best practices at the municipal level.

The “compact” program requires towns that participate to sign a written agreement with the state agreeing to implement whichever best practice the community is interested in implementing. The contracts run for two years, during which time the town is required to implement the program and the state will monitor progress.

The Baker administration states that the compact community program will “improve state-municipal relations by having state agencies work better with and for municipalities.

Of the 351 communities in the commonwealth, Barnstable is one of ten towns with 40,000 to 50,000 people, according to a chart about the compact program.

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