First Project Reviews Underway for Barnstable County ARPA Funds

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

HYANNIS – Despite delays and disagreement, the first town projects are now under review to receive part of $10 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding through Barnstable County’s distribution program.

County Administrator Beth Albert said that three projects are currently being looked at and will be judged to receive funds based on how well they align with goals of ARPA; namely COVID recovery and community infrastructure improvements. 

“Cape Cod Commission staff have been producing informational sheets on each of these Regional challenges that are part of the ARPA legislation. We really want to understand the local application of those Regional challenges,” said Albert during Wednesday’s meeting with the county board of commissioners.

To further speed up the application and distribution process, the county has also hired Kara Hughes to serve as an ARPA funds manager.

Falmouth Assembly Delegate Daniel Gessen joined the meeting to give comment on the ongoing relationship between the assembly and the commissioners, who have butted heads over both how best to utilize the ARPA funding as well as recently over the regional operating budget.

“There’s really nothing to be gained by pursuing a unilateral route on the side of the Assembly or Commissioners. And for the vast majority of Cape Codders who aren’t as invested in county politics, all this does is undermine the genuine value that exists for the institutions and the faith the community has,” said Gessen.

The Assembly originally argued for more half of the about $41 million in ARPA funding to be provided to towns for individual municipal projects, as well as pushed a slashed county budget that left new planned information technology staff positions without funding.

Both the Assembly and commissioners have since taken steps to fund the tech positions, ensuring no programs involving the new positions would be in jeopardy. 

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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