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Barnstable County Commissioners Announce Public Comment Period for Expenditure of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds

Information from:

Barnstable County Commissioners’ Office

Barnstable County was allocated $41.3 million in the federal ARPA legislation, efforts are now underway on a process for decisions on disbursement of those funds

December 28, 2021 (BARNSTABLE, MA) – The Barnstable County Commissioners announce the launch of a community engagement process and public comment period to provide the public an opportunity to voice their priorities for expenditure of the $41.3 million ARPA grant funds to be received from the U.S. Treasury.

“Cape Cod has a tremendous opportunity to utilize American Rescue Plan Act funds to make progress in key areas for our region, including protecting our water, investing in sewering and nitrogen reduction efforts, and expanding access to broadband internet,” said Barnstable County Commissioners Ron Bergstrom, Mark Forest, and Sheila Lyons. “We are grateful for the work of the Biden-Harris administration and our congressional delegation for authorizing these funds. Now the County is eager to move forward with a public input process and plan for disbursement of these funds over the next several years.”

Public Comment Period

The Barnstable County Commissioners office will hold a public comment period through Friday, February 4, 2022, for residents of Barnstable County to provide input and feedback on how the County’s ARPA funds should be allocated.

Residents have several ways to provide their feedback:

To avoid duplicate responses, the respondent’s full name and address must be provided for the submission to be considered.

In the month of January, meetings will be scheduled by the County’s ARPA team with members of the Assembly of Delegates and with each town’s elected and appointed officials to learn their views on town and regional priorities for the funding.  There will also be a stakeholder engagement process related to the County’s prioritized uses of the funds.

The application process and timeline will be announced shortly.

Barnstable County, and other municipal and county governments, have until December 31, 2024, to determine use of American Rescue Plan Act funds and until December 31, 2026, to spend all funds.

Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners’ Priorities:

At their November 10, 2021, meeting, the Commissioners voted unanimously to indicate the following priorities, in rank order, for use of Barnstable County’s allotment of ARPA funds:

  1. Invest in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
  2. Fund public health system costs associated with the COVID response, and other costs and related capital investments necessary to strengthen the public health system of the County and its towns.
  3. Fund projects targeting the negative economic impacts of the COVID pandemic on households, small businesses, non-profits, impacted industries, and disproportionately impacted communities.
  4. Fund proposals to replace lost public sector revenue; Provide premium pay to employees providing essential work during COVID-19.

 Comments by the County’s Legislative Delegation

 “Barnstable County is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation opportunity thanks to the $41.3 million that was allocated to the county as part of the American Rescue Plan Act,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D- Truro). “With these dollars, we have the chance to help revitalize Cape Cod as we emerge from a difficult two years. I encourage all Cape Codders to join us in realizing a resilient peninsula by participating in the public comment period.”

“Public input and participation are essential in prioritizing the distribution of ARPA funding,” said State Senator Susan L. Moran (D-Falmouth). “This is an opportunity to invest money in the local economy that has been negatively impacted due to the pandemic and to review the progress of our investments next year. We want to be sure this funding provides long-term benefits for a stronger and healthier community.”

“I am very pleased to be working with the Cape delegation and County officials to come up with a transparent process that hears opinions from our constituents as to how this federal money will be spent,” said State Representative Kip Diggs (D-Barnstable). “Obviously, there are many priorities that need immediate attention, but this public comment phase will allow the County to prioritize how this funding will be the most effectively and wisely spent.”

“American Rescue Plan Act funds will be essential to help the Cape and Islands build back from the economic hardship of the pandemic,” said State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth). “We need to make sure these funds are allocated responsibly and effectively, and by giving ample opportunity for public input, Barnstable County will ensure that funds are allocated to projects that will maximize impact.”

“We are grateful to Barnstable County government for their pursuit of input as the disbursement of this large sum of ARPA funds is considered,” said State Representative Tim Whelan (R-Brewster). “I encourage everyone to provide their thoughts, including the folks from our hard-hit small business community and cultural sector, who help drive our Cape Cod economy.  Let your voices be heard”.

About Barnstable County Regional Government of Cape Cod:

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