State Senators Give Recommendations On ARPA Funding

BARNSTABLE – Cape & Islands State Senator Julian Cyr and Plymouth/Barnstable State Senator Susan Moran recently gave recommendations to the Barnstable County Commissioners on how to allocate funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The ARPA provided the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with about $5.3 billion, with local governments statewide receiving an additional $3.4 billion in funding.

Barnstable County received roughly $41 million in ARPA funding.

Combined with additional federal resources such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the CARES act, that has left ample funding for various state government and municipal initiatives.

Citing their experience during the state house’s process to designate funding, Senator Cyr advocated for an approach which uses local funds to fill gaps in state and federal funding and takes care to prioritize good strategy.

“These funds are available to spend through 2026, and I think that’s actually serving us well because what we’re trying to do is to figure out how do we really leverage these dollars, how do we close gaps, and how do we not have duplicative funding,” said Cyr.

“Take the time to get it right,” he later added, emphasizing again the 2026 cut off date.

“The funds are available to 2026. Be smart about leveraging dollars and to fill gaps where the state and federal government are not putting resources, and don’t be afraid to be bold and think big.”

The pair touched on steps taken by the Town of Falmouth to use ARPA funds for town wide fiber optic broadband as an example of putting funds where they can be effective.

Additionally, Moran pushed for the county to take a leadership role in steering Cape municipalities towards advancement of crucial initiatives.

“The towns are all at different points in time, as they always are, and they look to the county for expertise, for translation, and the downside of this is they’re sitting on their hands a lot, and there are going to be opportunities that pass us by if the county is not in a position to encourage the communities to be shovel ready on what they most need,” said Moran.

The Barnstable County Commissioners are a three-person group tasked with direction of county agencies and more. The commission is currently made up of Chair Ronald Bergstrom, Sheila Lyons, and Mark Forest.

County commissioners and the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates have been wrangling over which body has ultimate say in how the money should be spent.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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