Barnstable County Officials Restore IT Funding

Barnstable County Commissioners Mark Forest, Ronald Bergstrom and Sheila Lyons.

HYANNIS – Barnstable County Commissioners and the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates separately took steps Wednesday to ensure a program allowing towns to share the county’s tech resources isn’t canceled by slashed funding in the FY23 county budget.

Harwich and Bourne were already making plans around the jeopardized tech program.

The funding for positions was among $834,898.19 cut by the Assembly to reduce county operating costs.

“It is critical that we fund these positions and honor all our service agreements with Cape towns, including the new agreements with Bourne and Harwich,” said County Commissioner Chairman Sheila Lyons.

The Assembly also introduced an ordinance later that same day to restore funding for the program, with Harwich Delegate Elizabeth Harder saying it will “allocate the funds necessary to ensure the contracts with Bourne and Harwich will be honored and no longer used as a weapon.”

“I then look forward to the Assembly and Commissioners working together to create a workable plan,” said Harder.

She and other delegates said that the county has run into issues before trying to fund expansions of staff positions without the option to raise taxes to compensate for any unforeseen budget issues.

However, County Administrator Beth Albert said that the IT positions were already approved by both the Assembly and Commissioners in October of last year and the costs are offset by revenue generated expanding to Harwich and Bourne.

Commissioners also voted to restore funding for a Resource Development Fiscal Grant Officer, the absence of which they said could slow distribution of $11 million in federal, state and local grants supporting regional projects like water quality and affordable housing.

The board also unanimously passed a motion requesting a legal opinion on the Assembly budgetary review process that led to the initial cuts, which they said lacked a detailed report outlining the reasons for each recommendation differing from the commissioners’ initial proposed budget.

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 News Center in 2019.
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