Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Compliance & Reporting

For reporting purposes, should a municipality treat contracts like subawards?

The new guidance for Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) dated November 15, 2021 indicates that all contracts are to be reported like subawards. The November 15 update to the CSLFRF Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) indicates that "Project and Expenditure reports . . . will include financial data, information on contracts and subawards over $50,000, types of projects funded, and other information regarding a recipient’s utilization of award funds."[1] While this indicates that recipients of CSLFRF funding must include information about certain contracts and subawards in their Project and Expenditure reports, it does not mean that all funds should be considered subawards. The CSLFRF Compliance and Reporting Guidance makes a clear distinction between subawards provided to subrecipients and contractual agreements with vendors. 

The CSLFRF Compliance and Reporting Guidance states that:

Each recipient shall also provide [as part of its Project and Expenditure reports] detailed obligation and expenditure information for any contracts and grants awarded, loans issued, transfers made to other government entities, and direct payments made by the recipient that are greater than $50,000.[2]

As such, contracts for amounts greater than $50,000 and subrecipients managing at least the same amount must be reported upon individually. The Compliance and Reporting Guidance shares a list of items that must be reported upon for such contracts and subrecipients:

In general, recipients will be asked to provide the following information for each Contract, Grant, Loan, Transfer, or Direct Payment greater than $50,000:

  • Subrecipient identifying and demographic information (e.g., DUNS number and location)
  • Award number (e.g., Award number, Contract number, Loan number)
  • Award date, type, amount, and description
  • Award payment method (reimbursable or lump sum payment(s))
  • For loans, expiration date (date when loan expected to be paid in full)
  • Primary place of performance
  • Related project name(s)
  • Related project identification number(s) (created by the recipient)
  • Period of performance start date
  • Period of performance end date
  • Quarterly obligation amount
  • Quarterly expenditure amount
  • Project(s)
  • Additional programmatic performance indicators for select Expenditure Categories [3]

Contracts, grants, issues loans, intergovernmental transfers, and direct payments made using CSLFRF program funds for amounts less than $50,000 should be reported in aggregate by expenditure category at the project level.[4]

The Compliance and Reporting Guidance also states that “SLFRF recipients that are pass-through entities as described under 2 CFR 200.1 are required to manage and monitor their subrecipients to ensure compliance with requirements of the SLFRF award pursuant to 2 CFR 200.332 regarding requirements for pass-through entities.”[5] The management and monitoring of subrecipients only applies to those agreements considered to be subawards, as defined in 2 CFR 200.1, and as such, additional compliance is required for those payments that qualify under the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200) standard for pass-through entities, although at this time it is not clear how this information should be reported. Similarly, 2 CFR 200 guidelines and definitions for vendor contracts and subrecipient agreements should also be followed when using CSLFRF program funds[6], but there are currently no reporting standards for this information.

As the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (“Treasury”) Recipient Compliance and Reporting Responsibilities webpage notes, as of November 23, 2021, “a forthcoming User Guide will provide information on submitting Project and Expenditure Reports,” additional information on how to submit information regarding contracts and subawards as part of the CSLFRF reporting process is expected.[7]

Last Revised: November 29, 2021

 

[1] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, Frequently Asked Questions (as of November 15, 2021) FAQ #9.2, at 35-36, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[2] Department of Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: “Guidance on Recipient Compliance and Reporting Responsibilities,” at 18, available at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf

[3] Id. 

[4] Id.

[5] Id., at 9.

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Compliance & Reporting

What are some good practices for a municipality which has submitted a report on planned uses of funds, but the planned uses were not approved by the City Council as of the August 31, 2021 reporting deadline?

Municipalities receiving funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s (“ARP”)[1] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) must meet certain compliance and reporting requirements to ensure an equitable, transparent, and responsible recovery.[2] Specifically, by August 31, 2021, metropolitan cities and counties with populations that exceed 250,000 residents are required to have submitted the following:

  • A one-time Interim Report,[3] with expenditures by category; and
  • The first annual Recovery Plan Performance Report.[4]

The Interim Report submitted by award recipients should have provided expenditures by Expenditure Category covering the period from March 3 to July 31, 2021, or 60 days after recipient’s award date.[5] Recipients should have consulted Appendix 1 in the Guidance on Recipient Compliance and Reporting (“the Guidance”) for the U.S. Department of Treasury’s (“Treasury”) Expenditure Categories.[6]

The Recovery Plan Performance Report will provide information on the projects that municipalities are undertaking with CSLFRF funding, including plans to ensure program outcomes are achieved in an effective, efficient, and equitable manner.[7]

Municipalities should have submitted a Recovery Plan that included information about approved projects covering the period through July 31, 2021, or 60 days after funding was received, on or before August 31, 2021.[8]  Recipients should not report planned uses of funds that have not been approved by appropriate governing bodies. However, upon approval, recipients should amend the report within 60 days of approval by the appropriate governing bodies. The Treasury’s reporting User Guide includes Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) section, including the following pertinent FAQ:

1.5. Should recipients submit a Recovery Plan if they are awaiting approval by legislative or other governance entities on the proposed projects, and such approval is not received as of the end of the reporting period?

Treasury’s response states:

Recipients should submit a Recovery Plan that includes information about any projects that are approved or authorized for release by August 31, 2021. A recipient should then submit an updated Recovery Plan within 60 days after approval by the legislature or other governance entities.[9]

According to Treasury, Recovery Plan Performance Reports should be submitted annually by July 31, covering the 12-month period from July 1 to June 30 through 2026. Furthermore, reports should also discuss activity prior to the end of the final covered period for CSLFRF by March 31, 2027. Recipients cannot receive an extension for the reporting deadlines.[10]

Treasury has provided several resources to help recipients understand their responsibilities in maintaining compliance with the CSLFRF guidelines set forth in the ARP and Treasury’s Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”).[11] Most notably, on June 17, 2021, Treasury released the first version of the Compliance and Reporting Guidance to help recipients understand the reporting requirements and deadlines for CSLFRF.[12] Subsequent revisions have been made to the Guidance and are catalogued in the Revision Log.[13] 

In addition, on August 1, 2021, Treasury released the Recovery Plan template to provide a general format for the annual report.[14] Treasury recommends (but does not require) that recipients use the template to provide project performance data, including information on efforts to improve equity and to engage communities.  Further, on August 9, 2021, Treasury released a document on its Portal for Recipient Reporting that provides additional clarity regarding how and what information to report. This document includes a FAQ section starting on page 27.[15]

Additional major reporting deadlines are looming.  By January 31, 2022, states, territories, metropolitan cities, and counties that received at least $10 million in CSLFRF funding and Tribes that received at least $30 million in CSLFRF funding are required to submit the first quarterly Project and Expenditure Report. This report will cover the period that ends December 31, 2021.[16]  All other recipients, including NEUs and all other metropolitan cities, counties, and Tribes should plan for the submission of their first annual Project and Expenditure Report by April 30, 2022, covering expenditures for the period ending March 31, 2022.[17]

Last Revised: November 16, 2021

[1] American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 § 9901, Pub. L. No. 117-2, amending 42 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#HAECAA3A95C4E4FFAB6AA46CE5F9CB2B5.

[3] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: “Guidance on Recipient Compliance and Reporting Responsibilities,” at 13, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf 

[4] Id., at 23.

[5] Id., at 14.

[6] Id., at 30-31.

[7] Id.

[8] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: “Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting,” at 27, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF_Treasury-Portal-Recipient-Reporting-User-Guide.pdf.

[9] Id.

[10] Id., at 29.

[12] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: “Guidance on Recipient Compliance and Reporting Responsibilities,” available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf 

[13] Id., at 33.

[14] U.S. Department of the Treasury Recovery Plan Template, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Recovery-Plan-Performance-Report-Template.docx.

[15] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: “Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting,” at 29, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF_Treasury-Portal-Recipient-Reporting-User-Guide.pdf.

[16] Id.

[17] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: “Guidance on Recipient Compliance and Reporting Responsibilities,” at 16, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf 

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Fund Planning & Allocation

Our fiscal year is October-September; what steps can we take to accommodate the current annual reporting benchmarks (based on the calendar year), and what is the possibility that regulations may change to allow for different start and ends dates?

Reports that are due to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) for Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) operate on a calendar-year system, as well as calendar quarters.[1] Each quarterly report must be submitted to Treasury within 30 calendar days after the end of each calendar quarter. The Project and Expenditure Reports require key financial grant reporting information and are due quarterly based on calendar quarter ends: March 31, 2022, June 30, 2022, September 30, 2022, and December 31, 2022.

The following table summarizes all quarterly reporting timelines:

Report

Year

Quarter

Period Covered

Due Date

1

2021

2-4

March 3 – December 31

January 31, 2022

2

2022

1

January 1 – March 31

April 30, 2022

3

2022

2

April 1 – June 30

July 31, 2022

4

2022

3

July 1 – September 30

October 31, 2022

5

2022

4

October 1 – December 31

January 31, 2023

6

2023

1

January 1 – March 31

April 30, 2023

7

2023

2

April 1 – June 30

July 31, 2023

8

2023

3

July 1 – September 30

October 31, 2023

9

2023

4

October 1 – December 31

January 31, 2024

10

2024

1

January 1 – March 31

April 30, 2024

11

2024

2

April 1 – June 30

July 31, 2024

12

2024

3

July 1 – September 30

October 31, 2024

13

2024

4

October 1 – December 31

January 31, 2025

14

2025

1

January 1 – March 31

April 30, 2025

15

2025

2

April 1 – June 30

July 31, 2025

16

2025

3

July 1 – September 30

October 31, 2025

17

2025

4

October 1 – December 31

January 31, 2026

18

2026

1

January 1 – March 31

April 30, 2026

19

2026

2

April 1 – June 30

July 31, 2026

20

2026

3

July 1 – September 30

October 31, 2026

21

2026

4

October 1 – December 31

March 31, 2027

Other federal programs related to COVID-19 recovery efforts, such as the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, operate on a calendar-year reporting system, even though many recipients operate on a fiscal year basis that does not coincide with the calendar year. Treasury is not likely to accommodate reporting periods that do not align with current guidance

A recipient of CSLFRF could consider tracking its expenditures and obligations monthly to accommodate reporting benchmarks that differ from the recipient’s operating fiscal year. Monthly captures of financial and programmatic data allow recipients to generate reports for both their fiscal year and annual reports for Treasury more easily and could provide the added benefit of providing more timely and useful financial information to management. This information could be used to produce financial statements that follow a calendar year or any other fiscal year-end and may prove helpful in completing CSLFRF reports for the Treasury.

 

Last Revised: November 17, 2021

[1] Department of Treasury, “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—Compliance and Reporting Guidance,” Version, 2.1, November 15, 2021, at 13-16 available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf.

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Fund Planning & Allocation

Can funds for an entitlement city, not resulting from revenue loss, and not in a Qualified Census Tract be used for: 1) improvements to public safety facilities; 2) HVAC replacements in city facilities; 3) renewable energy improvements to city facilities?

Guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) does not specifically address the use of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) for the purchase of renewable energy improvements to city facilities. However, the ARP does allow for structural renovations so long as these improvements mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Section 603(c)(1)(A) of the ARP allows municipalities to use Fiscal Recovery Funds (“FRF”) to meet public health and economic needs resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.[1] Among the eligible uses in the public health section outlined in the Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”), municipalities are allowed to use funds to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19.[2] Among the non-exclusive list of allowable uses are “support for prevention, mitigation, or other services in congregate living facilities … ventilation improvements in congregate settings, health care settings, or other key locations … [and] capital investments in public facilities to meet pandemic operational needs.”[3] Inasmuch as public safety facilities may be congregate living facilities or open to the public, certain renovations to implement COVID-19 mitigation tactics in these buildings are likely eligible for FRF funding under the ARP.[4]

Renovations that improve social distancing, allow better sanitation, and otherwise mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 are likely allowable under the ARP. For updates to HVAC systems and other projects not specifically mentioned in the Rule, municipalities must identify and document proper justification for the use of FRF on these projects. As stated in the Rule, municipalities must “identify an effect of COVID-19 on public health, including either or both of immediate effects or effects that may manifest over months or years, and assess how the use would respond to or address the identified need.”[5]

Outside of the revenue loss provision, municipalities are permitted to use FRF funds to support improvements to city facilities under the physical health and economic impacts section of ARP.[6] Municipalities should prioritize identifying the contributing factors to the spread of COVID-19 among such facilities in determining how to best reduce or eliminate these factors to best adhere to the guidelines established by Treasury in the Rule.[7]

Last Revised: November 3, 2021

[2] Id., at 13.

[3] Id., at 18.

[4] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, Frequently Asked Questions #2.1 (as of July 19, 2021), available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[6] Id. at 18.

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Compliance & Reporting, Fund Planning & Allocation

If a city decides to use Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) for payments to individual residents impacted by the pandemic, is there any documentation that confirms that the funds are non-countable against existing benefits?

Current U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) guidance does not indicate whether cash assistance provided to households to address the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency would impact recipients’ income eligibility for other federal benefit programs.

Treasury allows for the use of Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CLFRF”) to address the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency.[1] Such assistance includes direct cash assistance to households or populations.[2] Municipalities should consider cash transfers for those households or populations who experienced disproportionate harms due to the pandemic[3], noting that such transfers must be reasonably proportional to the negative economic impact they are intended to address.[4] Treasury guidance also states the following:

In particular, when considering the appropriate size of permissible cash transfers made in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, State, local and Tribal governments may consider and take guidance from the per person amounts previously provided by the Federal government in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Cash transfers that are grossly in excess of such amounts would be outside the scope of eligible uses under section 602(c)(1)(A) and 603(c)(1)(A) and could be subject to recoupment.[5]

Although Treasury refers to existing federal government programs in relation to direct cash assistance under CLFRF, it appears to do so only to provide guidance on the appropriate size of permissible cash transfers.

Municipalities may wish to consult public guidance issued by other federal agencies regarding specific benefit programs. As an example, the U.S. Social Security Administration website states that “COVID-19 emergency financial assistance paid from a federal, state, or local government source will not affect your Social Security benefits.”[6]

Last Revised: November 3, 2021

[2] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, Frequently Asked Questions (as of July 19, 2021) – FAQ #2.5, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[3] For more information on which households and populations qualify as having experienced disproportionate harms due to the pandemic, see the Bloomberg e311 Q&A available at: https://bloombergcities.jhu.edu/faqs/how-will-use-funds-category-authorizing-spending-arp-funds-respond-public-health-emergency.

[5] Id., at 33-34.

[6] See the SSA question “Will my Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits be reduced or stopped if I get COVID-19 emergency financial assistance?” October 12, 2021, available at:  Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) | Monthly Benefits and Other Financial Help | SSA.

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Fund Planning & Allocation

Is hazard pay an allowable expense under Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (“ESSER”) II or III?

Neither the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (“ESSER”), ESSER II (as found in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act), nor ESSER III (as set forth in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”)) funds expressly authorize hazard pay. However, there may be alternative funding sources available to provide employees with hazard or premium pay, especially where an employee qualifies as an “eligible worker” under the ARP.

Title II, Part I, Section 2001 of the ARP, which covers ESSER III, states that funds may be used to “maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency.”[1] Section 2001 does not identify hazard pay or premium pay as eligible uses of ESSER III funds.

Regarding ESSER II funds, the U.S. Department of Education Fact Sheet states “ESSER II funds may be used for the same allowable purposes as ESSER and ARP ESSER, including hiring new staff and avoiding layoffs.” [2] The Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act Section 18003 ESSER, [3] like the ESSER section of the ARP, does not identify hazard or premium pay as an eligible use of funds, but allows for:

[o]ther activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency. [4]

Though ESSER II or III do not appear to allow hazard or premium pay, there are other mechanisms for municipalities to access similar funds in certain situations. ARP Section 9901 of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) allows for funds to be used to:

respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID–19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the State, territory, or Tribal government that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work. [5]  

The ARP’s section on the CSLFRF identifies eligible workers as:

those workers needed to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors and additional sectors as each Governor of a State or territory, or each Tribal government, may designate as critical to protect the health and wellbeing of the residents of their State, territory, or Tribal government. [6]

Therefore, if the Governor or requisite governmental authority of a particular state has deemed teachers as essential workers, they may be able to receive premium pay under the CSLFRF. Section 9901 defines premium pay as:

an amount of up to $13 per hour that is paid to an eligible worker, in addition to wages or remuneration the eligible worker otherwise receives, for all work performed by the eligible worker during the COVID–19 public health emergency. Such amount may not exceed $25,000 with respect to any single eligible worker.

Last Revised: November 3, 2021

[1] American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 § 9901, Pub. L. No. 117-2, amending 42 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., at Section 2001(e)(1)(R), available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#HAECAA3A95C4E4FFAB6AA46CE5F9CB2B5.

[2] Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education Fact Sheet - American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER), available at: https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/FINAL_ARP-ESSER-FACT-SHEET.pdf.

[3] Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Pub. L. No. 116–136, 134 Stat. 281 (2020), at Section 18003, available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text./.

[4] Id., at Section 18003(d)(12).

[5] American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 § 9901, Pub. L. No. 117-2, amending 42 U.S.C. §801 et seq., at Section 602(c)(1)(B), available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#HC028912924A04512A1F80BFA0F1C1051.

[6] Id., at Section 602(g)(2).

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Fund Planning & Allocation

Can my municipality use revenue replacement funds to pay for a Bond Anticipation Note (“BAN”) paydown amount that is coming due in March?

Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) added a new subsection 603(c)(1)(C) to the Social Security Act, which authorizes the use of Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CLFRF”):

. . . for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such State, territory, or Tribal government due to the COVID–19 public health emergency . . .[1]

Following enactment of this new statutory provision, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) published an Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”) to implement the new CLFRF provisions. 

The Rule allows for the use of CLFRF for government services to the extent of reduction in revenue.[2] However, the Rule established the following restrictions on the use of CLFRF assistance:

[E]xpenses associated with obligations under instruments evidencing financial indebtedness for borrowed money would not be considered the provision of government services, as these financing expenses do not directly provide services or aid to citizens. Specifically, government services would not include interest or principal on any outstanding debt instrument, including, for example, short-term revenue or tax anticipation notes, or fees or issuance costs associated with the issuance of new debt.[3]

In addition to its publication of the Rule, Treasury has also published a series of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) relating to uses of the CLFRF assistance. FAQ #3.8 asks Treasury about restrictions on how funds may be used. In response, Treasury states:

The Interim Final Rule gives recipients broad latitude to use funds for the provision of government services to the extent of reduction in revenue . . . However, paying interest or principal on outstanding debt, replenishing rainy day or other reserve funds, or paying settlements or judgments would not be considered provision of a government service, since these uses of funds do not entail direct provision of services to citizens. This restriction on paying interest or principal on any outstanding debt instrument, includes, for example, short-term revenue or tax anticipation notes, or paying fees or issuance costs associated with the issuance of new debt.[4]  

Likewise, FAQ #4.3 examines whether recipients can use CLFRF funds to pay interest or principal on outstanding debt. Treasury states:

No. Expenses related to financing, including servicing or redeeming notes, would not address the needs of pandemic response or its negative economic impacts. Such expenses would also not be considered provision of government services, as these financing expenses do not directly provide services or aid to citizens. This applies to paying interest or principal on any outstanding debt instrument, including, for example, short-term revenue or tax anticipation notes, or paying fees or issuance costs associated with the issuance of new debt.[5]

In summary, Treasury would almost certainly consider a municipality’s use of ARP revenue replacement funds to pay down a BAN a restricted use, because it falls within the scope of interest or principal on an outstanding debt instrument. Revenue replacement funds must be used to finance expenses that directly provide services or aid to citizens. And Treasury appears to have expressly excluded debt instruments from that category.

Last Revised: November 3, 2021

[1] American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 § 9901, Pub. L. No. 117-2, amending 42 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., at 9901, available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#HAECAA3A95C4E4FFAB6AA46CE5F9CB2B5.

[2] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, Frequently Asked Questions (as of July 19, 2021) – FAQ #3.8 (emphasis added), available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[3] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at 60 (emphasis added), available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/FRF-Interim-Final-Rule.pdf.

[4] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, Frequently Asked Questions (as of July 19, 2021) – FAQ #3.8 (emphasis added), available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[5] Id., at #4.3 (emphasis added).

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Compliance & Reporting

If a city has made a determination and documented that a project fits within a specific eligibility category under ARP, can the eligibility determination later be changed if our compliance team determines the initial classification is no longer correct?

Municipalities may edit or update information previously submitted to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) with the next quarterly or annual report submission. Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds User Guide (the “User Guide”) provides guidance on editing or updating reports already submitted. Specifically, it states:

  • Interim Report: No changes will be allowed after the initial submission. Any updates will be captured when the first Project and Expenditure Report is submitted.
  • Quarterly Project and Expenditure Reports: Updates should be provided in the next quarterly Project and Expenditure Report.
  • Annual Project and Expenditure Report: Recipients will have an opportunity to provide updates with the next quarterly submission date, when the portal opens for quarterly submitters. Additional information will be included in the forthcoming User Guide for the Project and Expenditure Report.
  • Recovery Plan: Recipients will be allowed to submit updates of their Recovery Plan reflecting any significant changes. They should also provide concurrent updates to the publicly posted version.[1], [2]

The User Guide also instructs recipients to follow the same steps outlined above if a municipality deems a previously reported eligible expense to be ineligible. Specifically, the User Guide states, “Recipients can make correction to reporting to adjust for ineligible uses, and must pay for that expense using non-SLFRF funding.”[3]

As a good practice, when amending information on a quarterly or annual report, municipalities should add a footnote, when the reporting template allows, indicating that the information has been amended from the previous report.

Last Revised: November 17, 2021

[1] Department of the Treasury, “Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds,” FAQ #1.11, at 29, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF_Treasury-Portal-Recipient-Reporting-User-Guide.pdf.

[2] Id. See information regarding the deadlines for reporting under U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Compliance and Reporting Guidelines,” at 12.

[3] Id., at FAQ #3.1, at 31.

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Fund Planning & Allocation

With respect to premium pay, what documentation must be provided for reporting purposes?

The U.S. Department of Treasury published an Interim Final Rule (“the Rule”) to implement the American Rescue Plan Act’s (“ARP”) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund authorities on May 17, 2021. The Rule defines Premium Pay as follows:

Premium pay means an amount of up to $13 per hour that is paid to an eligible worker, in addition to wages or remuneration the eligible worker otherwise receives, for all work performed by the eligible worker during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Such amount may not exceed $25,000 with respect to any single eligible worker. Premium pay will be considered to be in addition to wages or remuneration the eligible worker otherwise receives if, as measured on an hourly rate, the premium pay is:

(1) With regard to work that the eligible worker previously performed, pay and remuneration equal to the sum of all wages and remuneration previously received plus up to $13 per hour with no reduction, substitution, offset, or other diminishment of the eligible worker’s previous, current, or prospective wages or remuneration; or

(2) With regard to work that the eligible worker continues to perform, pay of up to $13 that is in addition to the eligible worker’s regular rate of wages or remuneration, with no reduction, substitution, offset, or other diminishment of the workers’ current and prospective wages or remuneration.[1]

In addition to the definition of Premium Pay, the Rule describes the authority to provide Premium Pay as follows:

(c) Providing Premium Pay to Eligible Workers. A recipient may use funds to provide premium pay to eligible workers of the recipient who perform essential work or to provide grants to eligible employers, provided that any premium pay or grants provided under this paragraph (c) must respond to eligible workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency. A recipient uses premium pay or grants provided under this paragraph (c) to respond to eligible workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency if it prioritizes low- and moderate-income persons. The recipient must provide, whether for themselves or on behalf of a grantee, a written justification to the Secretary of how the premium pay or grant provided under this paragraph (c) responds to eligible workers performing essential work if the premium pay or grant would increase an eligible worker’s total wages and remuneration above 150 percent of such eligible worker’s residing State’s average annual wage for all occupations or their residing county’s average annual wage, whichever is higher.[2]

On January 31, 2022, municipalities are required to submit their first Project and Expenditure Report via the United       States Department of the Treasury’s (“Treasury”) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (“CSLFRF”) reporting portal.[3] The quarterly Project and Expenditure Reports should include financial data, information on contracts and sub-awards over $50,000, types of projects funded, and other information regarding a recipient’s utilization of the award funds.[4]

To provide additional guidance and instructions on the reporting requirements, Treasury has published the Compliance and Reporting Guidance (the “Reporting Guidance”) relating to CSLFRF reports, with the current Version 2.0 published on November 5, 2021. Treasury’s Reporting Guidance requires the following information regarding premium pay to be included in the Project and Expenditure Reports:

Premium Pay (both Public Sector EC 4.1 and Private Sector EC 4.2) – Collection to begin in January 2022:

In addition to the Project and Expenditure Reports, municipalities will also be required to report use of funds relating to Premium Pay in its future Recovery Plans. The next required Recovery Plan is due July 31, 2022.[6] Treasury states in the Reporting Guidance that the requirements for reporting Premium Pay in the Recovery Plan are:

As relevant, describe the approach, goals, and sectors or occupations served in any premium pay program. Describe how your approach prioritizes low-income workers.[7]

It is advisable to refer to the Reporting Guidance for further details concerning future Recovery Plans and related reporting requirements.

Municipalities must document the criteria and process used to identify workers receiving premium pay and demonstrate that efforts were made to prioritize lower-income workers.[8] Municipalities must also publicly disclose any grants to third-party employers intending to provide premium pay to their workers performing essential duties.[9]

In addition, recipients may use Fiscal Recovery Funds (“FRF”) payments to provide premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency or grants to third-party employers with eligible workers performing essential work.[10] These are workers who have been and continue to be relied upon to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors, including those critical to protecting their communities’ health and well-being.[11]

As stated in the Rule, critical infrastructure sectors include - but are not limited to - healthcare, public health and safety, childcare, education, sanitation, transportation, and food production and services.[12] A municipality has the discretion to provide premium pay to sectors not mentioned in the Rule if they are “deemed critical to protect the health and well-being of residents.”[13]

If a municipality decides to utilize CSLFRF for any provision of premium pay, it must adhere to the above-provided compliance outlined by Treasury’s Reporting Guidance.[14] Furthermore, municipalities should review the Portal for Recipient Reporting: State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds[15] to assist in the preparation of their first Project and Expenditure Report and submitting their reports within Treasury’s respective submission portal, which is due January 31, 2022. A separate guide will be issued for the Project and Expenditure Report.

In addition, municipalities should document all guidance utilized in determining their decision and ongoing facilitation of CSLFRF at the given time. Treasury guidance in the future may change to supersede the current guidance, and a municipality may be required to demonstrate its rationale and reliance on the specific guidance it utilized when it used CSLFRF monies.

In support of this, Treasury explicitly states that:

Financial records and supporting documents related to the award must be retained for a period of five years after all funds have been expended or returned to Treasury, whichever is later. This includes those which demonstrate the award funds were used for eligible purposes in accordance.[16]

Last Revised: November 12, 2021

[1] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at 134, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/FRF-Interim-Final-Rule.pdf.

[2] Id., at 143.

[4] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at 111, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/FRF-Interim-Final-Rule.pdf.

[5] Department of Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—Compliance and Reporting Guidance (Revised November 5, 2021, Version 2.0), at 20, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf.

[6] Id., at 23.

[7] Id., at 24.

[8] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, Frequently Asked Questions (as of July 19, 2021) – FAQ #5.1, at 26-27, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[10] Id., at 45.

[11] Id.

[12] Id., at 48.

[13] Id.

[14] Department of Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—Compliance and Reporting Guidance (Revised November 5, 2021, Version 2.0), at 20, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf.

[15] Department of Treasury, Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting: State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (as of August 9, 2021), available at: SLFRF_Treasury-Portal-Recipient-Reporting-User-Guide.pdf.

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Program Administration

Can a municipality that charges property owners an annual Sewer and Storm Water Fee use ARP funds to pay for sewer and stormwater capital projects?

Under the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (“Treasury”) Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”), the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”), established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”), include support to municipalities for water and sewer infrastructure projects and services.[1] Treasury guidance indicates that in specific scenarios, a municipality that charges an annual sewer and stormwater fee (that is not ad valorem property tax) is permitted to utilize CSLFRF to fund water and sewer-related capital projects on a pro-rata basis.[2]

Treasury’s Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) on the authorized use of CSLFRF for water and sewer infrastructure projects states:

[T]he IFR refers to the EPA Drinking Water[3] and Clean Water State Revolving Funds[4] (SRFs) for the categories of projects and activities that are eligible for funding. Recipients should look at the relevant federal statutes, regulations, and guidance issued by the EPA to determine whether a water or sewer project is eligible. Of note, the IFR does not incorporate any other requirements contained in the federal statutes governing the SRFs or any conditions or requirements that individual states may place on their use of SRFs.[5]

Under the Clean Water State Revolving Funds, Treasury identifies several categories of eligible projects:

[C]onstruction of publicly owned treatment works, nonpoint source pollution management, national estuary program projects, decentralized wastewater treatment systems, stormwater systems, water conservation, efficiency, and reuse measures, watershed pilot projects, energy efficiency measures for publicly-owned treatment works, water reuse projects, security measures at publicly-owned treatment works, and technical assistance to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act.[6]

Furthermore, Treasury has also stated that:

The EPA’s Overview of Clean Water State Revolving Fund Eligibilities describes eligible energy-related projects. This includes a “[p]ro rata share of capital costs of offsite clean energy facilities that provide power to a treatment works.” Thus, State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds may be used to finance the generation and delivery of clean power to a wastewater system or a water treatment plant on a pro-rata basis.[7]

If a municipality’s annual sewer and stormwater fee covered the cost of delivering or facilitating clean power to a wastewater system or water treatment plant, or if the municipality sought to maintain or expand its clean energy systems to deliver more power to a wastewater system or water treatment plant, the Treasury guidance indicates that these expenses would likely be permissible uses of CSLFRF on a pro-rata basis.

To determine if intended funding uses are permissible, a municipality should generally refer to the Clean Water State Revolving Funds Program Eligibilities for sewer and stormwater projects.[8] A municipality should also review its State’s State Revolving Funds (“SRFs”) to help inform the municipality’s strategy. Treasury states that “the [Rule] does not incorporate any other requirements contained in the federal statutes governing the SRFs or any conditions or requirements that individual states may place on their use of SRFs.”[9]

A municipality that charges an annual sewer and stormwater fee that is not ad valorem property tax should also focus on the risk of potential duplication of benefits (“DOB”). DOB occurs if a person, household, business, government, or other entity receives financial assistance from multiple sources for an identical purpose, and the total aid received for that purpose, therefore, exceeds the total need for assistance. Municipalities should conduct a DOB analysis to determine which costs have not been paid from another assistance fund source to avoid duplication.

Recipients may use CSLFRF funds to cover costs incurred for eligible sewer and water-related projects that have been “planned or started prior to March 3, 2021, provided that the project costs are covered by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds were incurred after March 3, 2021.”[10] Notably, Treasury states that it:

[I]s interpreting the requirement that costs be incurred by December 31, 2024, to only require that recipients have obligated the funds by such date. The period of performance will run until December 31, 2026, which will provide recipients a reasonable amount of time to complete projects funded with Fiscal Recovery Funds.[11]

When a municipality decides to apply CSLFRF to a given project or service, it must adhere to all compliance and reporting guidance outlined by Treasury’s Compliance and Reporting Guidance for CSLFRF[12] and Portal for Recipient Reporting for CSLFRF.[13] Municipalities should be mindful that current Treasury guidance may be superseded by subsequent guidance, and a municipality may be required to demonstrate its rationale for using ARP funds. Moreover, municipalities should document the guidance relied upon in choosing to apply CSLFRF to a particular use.

Last Updated: August 13, 2021

[2] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: Frequently Asked Questions (updated July 19, 2021) – FAQ #6.13, at 32, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[3] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Eligibility Handbook, June 2017, available at: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-10/documents/dwsrf_eligibility_handbook_june_13_2017_updated_508_versioni.pdf.

[5] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: Frequently Asked Questions (as of July 19, 2021) – FAQ #6.7, at 29, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[6] Id., at FAQ #6.1, at 27-28.

[7] Id., at FAQ #6.13, at 32.

[8] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Overview of Clean Water State Revolving Fund Eligibilities, May 2016, at 3, available at: Overview of CWSRF Eligibilities (epa.gov).

[9] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: Frequently Asked Questions (updated July 19, 2021) – FAQ #6.7, at 29, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[10] Id., at FAQ #4.7, at 21.

[11] Id., at #6.2, at 28.

[12] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Compliance and Reporting Guidance: State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (as of June 24, 2021), available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf.

[13] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting: State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (as of August 9, 2021), available at: SLFRF_Treasury-Portal-Recipient-Reporting-User-Guide.pdf

Program

COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

Topics

Due Diligence & Fraud Protection

What good practices can municipalities follow to minimize duplicative work and stay current with changing reporting requirements?

There are many good practices for municipalities to implement to ensure the above-mentioned goals are met.[1]

First, municipalities should choose to designate representatives who can: (i) track deadlines; (ii) monitor newly published guidance and regulations; and (iii) share the relevant information with internal representatives and external stakeholders. The Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) has published information relating specifically to “Recipient Compliance and Reporting Responsibilities” on its website.[2]

To ensure compliance with the reporting guidance discussed further below, municipalities should review their procurement procedures to ensure compliance with federal and other relevant mandates, take steps to ensure compliance with relevant documentation mandates, and implement ongoing training to facilitate compliance with the numerous applicable federal, state, and local mandates.

Documentation

 

Reporting requirements for federal grants have many similarities, including quarterly expenditure reports and detailed procurement processes. The American Rescue Plan Act’s (“ARP”) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (“CSLFRF”) and the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act’s (“CARES Act”) Coronavirus Relief Fund (“CRF”) vary in their respective reporting requirements.

 

Reporting obligations for the CARES Act’s CRF are detailed in a memorandum prepared by the Treasury Office of Inspector General (“OIG”).[3] Pursuant to CSLFRF, municipalities must provide quarterly project and expenditure reports relating to their use of CSLFRF funds.[4] CSLFRF reporting obligations are also reported in the Interim Final Rule[5] (the “Rule”) and several of Treasury’s Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) relating to the CSLFRF.[6]

 

The below chart provides important information about Treasury reporting deadlines for recipients of CSLFRF funds.[7]

Table 2- Reporting requirements by recipient type

In order to assist municipalities in submitting the Interim Report and Recovery Plan Performance Report due on August 31, 2021, as well as the Project and Expenditure Report due on January 31, 2022, Treasury published the following information:

    • Recipient Reporting User Guide to assist municipalities with the submission of the Interim Report and the Recovery Plan Performance Report.[8]
    • Recovery Plan Performance Report Template posted on Treasury’s Recipient Compliance and Reporting Guidance webpage.
    • “Compliance and Reporting Guidance” for State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds[9] that provides details and clarification for each recipient’s compliance and reporting responsibilities.

Municipalities should stay up-to-date on guidance and FAQs published by Treasury and other federal agencies, including changes to the reporting requirements. For the CSLFRF programs, municipalities can stay current by registering on Treasury’s website[10] to receive email updates on changes to the Rule and FAQs.

Below are examples of additional guidance and published FAQs that are helpful in understanding reporting and documentation requirements:

    • July 19, 2021, Treasury Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Frequently Asked Questions[11]
    • April 19, 2021, Treasury Office of Inspector General - Coronavirus Relief Fund Prime Recipient Quarterly GrantSolutions Submissions Monitoring and Review Procedure Guide[12]
    • March 10, 2021, Treasury Interim Final Rule, Section VIII “Reporting”[13]
    • March 2, 2021, Office of Inspector General Coronavirus Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions Related to Reporting and Recordkeeping[14]
    • July 2, 2020, Treasury Office of Inspector General - Coronavirus Relief Fund Reporting and Record Retention Requirements[15]

The table below shows many of the overlapping reporting requirements for the CARES Act[16] and ARP[17] that municipalities must provide in quarterly reports.[18]

overlapping reporting requirements for the CARES Act and ARP that municipalities must provide in quarterly reports

Although municipalities are required to report similar information for both funding sources, records should be maintained separately, and attention should be given to the good practices described below for documenting the projects and expenditure reports. Adhering to good practices in documenting the information for use in CARES Act’s CRF and ARP’s CSLFRF reports will help facilitate transparency and proper accounting for expenditures.  Robust documentation will also help prepare the municipality for any additional city, state, or federal reporting obligations or audits.

In April 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) released a fact sheet on Audit-Related Guidance for Entities Receiving FEMA Public Assistance Funds.[19] Following these recommendations can help municipalities meet federal reporting requirements as well as other reporting requirements that may be required by municipalities or states. The recommendations include:

  • Designate a person to coordinate the accumulation of records (e.g., receipts, invoices, etc.).
  • Establish a separate and distinct account for recording revenue and expenditures and a separate identifier for each distinct FEMA project.
    • This   process can also be used for separating CRF and CSLFRF funds and the individual projects within each.
  • Ensure that the final expenditures for each project are supported by the dollar amounts recorded within the accounting system of record.
  • Ensure that each expenditure is recorded and linked to supporting documentation (e.g., checks, invoices, etc.) that can be easily retrieved.
  • Ensure that expenditures claimed are necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, reasonable pursuant to federal regulations and federal cost principles, and conform to standard program eligibility and other federal requirements.[20]

Additional steps that a municipality may consider in helping to manage the similar reporting requirements of the two programs:

  • Implement a uniform reporting format for both CRF funds and CSLFRF funds to allow for easy data transference between sub-recipient and prime recipient and between prime recipient and reporting platform.
  • Prepare project documents as if already under audit by creating an audit trail that a municipality will be able to rely on should an audit happen immediately. The audit trail should include, but not necessarily be limited to, general ledgers that account for the receipt and disbursement of funds, budget records for 2019 and 2020, payroll records to support payroll expenses related to COVID-19, contracts and subcontracts, and, where applicable, photographs supporting expenditures.
  • Leverage technology solutions to generate multiple reports with the same data points for various governing entities, where applicable.
  • Continually audit project documents for accuracy and adherence to reporting guidelines.
  • Ensure that both prime recipient and sub-recipients have valid DUNS numbers and have active SAM registrations to minimize reporting time.
    • According to OIG-CA-21-020 (“American Rescue Plan – Application of Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Relief Fund”), issued by the Treasury on May 10, 2021, “Treasury officials are considering various software options for ARP recipient reporting and administration, including GrantSolutions and Salesforce.”[21]  Municipalities can prepare for CSLFRF reporting by ensuring that those expected to receive this assistance are registered with SAM and have valid DUNS numbers.

Resources such as Bloomberg’s COVID e311 repository[22] provide additional information on updated timelines, requirements, and comparisons for documentation overlap between CARES and ARP. Some examples include:

To facilitate documentation accuracy, municipalities should consider implementing a robust policy or decision checklist to ensure that eligible expenses meet the definitions of use by the particular grant/award. It may be helpful for multiple personnel to participate in the evaluation process, using the same criteria as provided by each funding type, to confirm that the expenses meet the outlined priorities of the federal funds.

Procurement Processes

Substantial federal guidance is available regarding the procurement process and requirements. First, municipalities may review the eligible and ineligible uses of ARP funds published in the Rule.[23] Second, the FEMA “Top 10 Procurement under Grants Mistakes” highlights key risks applicable to all contracting using federal grant assistance.[24]Third, 2 CFR Part 200 contains mandates relating to Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.[25] This regulation provides recipients with mandates relating to the use of federal grant assistance. The mandates of this regulation are also addressed in Part 1(D) of Treasury’s Compliance and Reporting Guidance.[26] 2 CFR 200 applies to all federal programs; therefore, recipients should be familiar with it.

Fourth, just as the federal government details procurement processes, each government entity (such as a municipality) or other recipients or subrecipients of CSLFRF assistance should have written policies delineating required steps for contracting. In some cases, municipalities may find it prudent or expedient to mirror state processes. If there are no standardized written procurement policies at the municipal level, the adoption of state rules can help municipalities implement proper procurement procedures for the use of CSLFRF assistance. Compliance with local, state, and federal procurement requirements will reduce the risk of future negative audit findings.

Non-Entitlement Units (“NEUs”) are local governments typically serving a population under 50,000. For NEUs requesting CSLFRF funding, the Treasury Checklist for Requesting Initial Payment[27] includes general “After Requesting Funding”[28] information that may assist the planning process even before spending begins.

Municipalities can also use resources such as the FEMA Fact Sheet[29] for guidance on preparatory steps and best practices designed to “overlay” applicable state and municipal procurement practices onto the federal procurement rules for these funds.

Ongoing Training

While procurement processes and documentation requirements target the objectives and eligible expenses of a particular grant, financial management training can help improve government operations. In addition to educating employees on specific provisions of the CSLFRF and CARES Act funding, municipalities can also use learning opportunities to develop skills and preparedness for general disaster recovery and related funding procedures. Various topics are offered via online self-study, as well as in classroom settings, all tailored to fit the post-pandemic work environment. Types of training that improve general operations and are not strictly related to COVID-19 funding include:

  • fraud awareness;
  • grant program-specific training;
  • electronic portal training specific to federal program;
  • intra-agency working groups; and
  • technology solutions that would help financial tracking and documentation management.

The FEMA National Preparedness Course Catalog can be searched to identify relevant trainings or courses that may be beneficial to municipalities.[30]

Certain federal government departments and regional offices that oversee programs like the CRF and CSLFRF, as well as FEMA’s  Public Assistance (“PA”) and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program  (“HMGP”) also provide free trainings. Training modules should be scheduled as reporting requirements change to ensure all employees responsible for such programs are notified of changes and can adapt programs as needed.  

Recipients should regularly check the following agency pages to find out when technical assistance webinars are being scheduled:

Furthermore, some national, non-governmental organizations provide training and educational resource libraries on various aspects of CRF and CSLFRF funding for both states and municipalities:

  • The United States Conference of Mayors: Organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. The conference and its members (elected mayors) develop policies and programs that collectively represent the views of members. Resources and programs are available on their website including a dedicated section on COVID-19 issues and ARP Resources for cities.[31]
  • National Association of Counties (“NACo”): Serves nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees through membership services including education and events.[32] On demand educational series include “Understanding Eligible Uses of the Fiscal Recovery Fund”.[33]
  • National League of Cities (“NLC”): Serves more than 2,000 cities across the United States and has a dedicated library of over 100 COVID-19 related resources including a forum to connect with other cities, FAQ forms, and webinars on updates to Treasury guidance.[34]
  • National Association of State Budget Officers (“NASBO”): Monitors budget and financial implications related to COVID-19 and provides weekly updates in their Washington Report e-publication.[35] Municipal officials can subscribe to the Washington Report for weekly updates on financial and budgetary details of ARP and other COVID-19-related funding questions.[36]
  • National Governors Association (“NGA”): Represents leaders from 55 states, territories, and commonwealths and provides dedicated COVID-19 updates on their website.[37] Resources include an ARP eligibility guide, webinars, and publications.[38]
  • National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers (“NASACT”): Works to address government financial management issues and has a dedicated COVID-19 resource library for state governments.[39]
  • National Conference of State Legislatures (“NCSL”): Aims to facilitate exchange of information between legislatures in states, territories, and commonwealths and provides a dedicated COVID-19 database of resources for states.[40] The fiscal section in the database includes a state-by-state breakdown of ARP funding.[41]
  • Government Finance Officers Association (“GFOA”): Represents public finance officials throughout the United States and hosts weekly educational events and webinars to educate municipal officials on Treasury updates and other government finance topics.[42] Additionally, GFOA provides a Coronavirus Response Resource Center with information on the CARES Act and CSLFRF.[43]
  • National Emergency Management Association (“NEMA”): Supports the professionalization of emergency management and aims to strengthen the nation’s emergency management system.[44]

Last Revised: November 12, 2021

[1] American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 § 9901, Pub. L. No. 117-2, amending 42 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#HAECAA3A95C4E4FFAB6AA46CE5F9CB2B5. See also Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Pub. L. No. 116136, 134 Stat. 281 (2020), available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text.\

[3] U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Inspector General, “Memorandum for Coronavirus Relief Fund Recipients”, July 2, 2020, 1-3, https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/IG-Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Recipient-Reporting-Record-Keeping-Requirements.pdf.

[4] U.S. Department of Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—Compliance and Reporting Guidance, Version, 2.0, November 5, 2021, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf. See also U.S. Department of the Treasury, Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting, State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF_Treasury-Portal-Recipient-Reporting-User-Guide.pdf.

[5] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR Part 35 at 110-112, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/FRF-Interim-Final-Rule.pdf.

[6] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Frequently Asked Questions (as of July 19, 2021), at 34-37, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[7] U.S. Department of Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—Compliance and Reporting Guidance, Version, 2.0, November 5, 2021, at 13, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf.

[8] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting, August 9, 2021, available at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF_Treasury-Portal-Recipient-Reporting-User-Guide.pdf

[9] U. S. Department of Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—Compliance and Reporting Guidance, Version, 2.0, November 5, 2021, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf.

[11] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Frequently Asked Questions (as of July 19, 2021), available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[12] Coronavirus Relief Fund Prime Recipient Quarterly GrantSolutions Submissions Monitoring and Review Procedure Guide, April 19, 2021, available at: https://oig.treasury.gov/sites/oig/files/2021-04/OIG-CA-20-029R.pdf.

[13] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at 110-112, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/FRF-Interim-Final-Rule.pdf.

[14] Treasury Office of Inspector General, Coronavirus Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions Related to Reporting and Recordkeeping, March 2, 2021, available at: https://bfm.sd.gov/covid/OIG_CRF_FAQ_20210302.pdf.

[15] Treasury Office of Inspector General, Coronavirus Relief Fund Reporting and Record Retention Requirements, July 2, 2020, available at: https://oig.treasury.gov/sites/oig/files/2021-01/OIG-CA-20-021.pdf.

[16] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury Office of Inspector General Coronavirus Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions Related to Reporting and Recordkeeping (Revised), March 2, 2021, at Question #40, at 10-11, available at: https://bfm.sd.gov/covid/OIG_CRF_FAQ_20210302.pdf.

[17] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at 110-112, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/FRF-Interim-Final-Rule.pdf.

[18] Note that according to the Treasury Interim Final Rule, pg. 111, aside from quarterly reports, each municipality that is not considered a “nonentitlement unit of local government” will have to provide an interim report from the date of award to July 31, 2021.  Nonentitlement units of local governments are required to provide Project and Expenditure annual reports rather than quarterly reports. These reports follow the same guidelines as in the table below.

[19] FEMA, Audit-Related Guidance for Entities Receiving FEMA Public Assistance Funds, April 6, 2021, available at: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_audit-related-guidance-entities-receiving_public-assistance_4-6-2021.pdf.

[20] Id., at 1-2.

[21] U.S. Department of the Treasury, OIG-CA-21-2020, American Rescue Plan – Application of Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, May 17, 2021, at 6, available at: https://oig.treasury.gov/sites/oig/files/2021-05/OIG-CA-21-020.pdf.

[22] Bloomberg Cities Network, “Federal Assistance e311 Knowledge Base,” available at: https://bloombergcities.jhu.edu/program/e311/knowledge-base.

[23] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at pp. 138-145, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/FRF-Interim-Final-Rule.pdf.; U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Fact Sheet as of May 10, 2021, at pp. 2-8, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRP-Fact-Sheet-FINAL1-508A.pdf.

[24] FEMA, Top Ten Procurement under Grants Mistakes, available at: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/fema_top-10-mistakes_flyer.pdf.

[26] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—Compliance and Reporting Guidance, Version, 2.0, November 5, 2021, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-and-Reporting-Guidance.pdf.

[27] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund: Non-entitlement Unit of Local Government Checklist for Requesting Initial Payment, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/NEU_Checklist_for_Requesting_Initial_Payment.pdf.

[28] Id.

[29] FEMA, Audit-Related Guidance for Entities Receiving FEMA Public Assistance Funds, April 6, 2021, available at: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_audit-related-guidance-entities-receiving_public-assistance_4-6-2021.pdf.

[30] FEMA, National Preparedness Course Catalog, available at: https://www.firstrespondertraining.gov/frts/npccatalog?catalog=EMI.

[31] The United States Conference of Mayors, COVID-19: What Mayors Need to Know, available at: https://www.usmayors.org/issues/covid-19/.

[32] National Association of Counties, NACo Knowledge Network, available at: https://www.naco.org/education-events#on-demand.

[33] Id.

[34] National League of Cities, Resource Library, available at: https://www.nlc.org/resources-training/resource-library/?orderby=date&topic%5B%5D=covid-19.

[35] National Association of State Budget Officers, COVID-19 Relief Funds Guidance and Resources, available at: https://www.nasbo.org/mainsite/resources/covid-19-relief-funds-guidance-and-resources.

[36] National Association of State Budget Officers, Washington Report, available at: https://www.nasbo.org/resources/e-publications/washington-report.

[37] National Governors Association, COVID-19: What you need to know, available at: https://www.nga.org/coronavirus/.

[38] National Governors Association, NGA Issue Library, available at: https://www.nga.org/library/?tx_post_tag=coronavirus-posts.

[39] National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers, COVID-19 Resources for States, available at: https://www.nasact.org/covid_19_resources_for_states.

[40] National Conference of State Legislatures, NCSL Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for States, available at: https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/ncsl-coronavirus-covid-19-resources.aspx.

[41] Id.

[42] Government Finance Officers Association, Events Calendar, available at: https://www.gfoa.org/events.

[43] Government Finance Officers Association, Coronavirus Response Resource Center, available at: https://www.gfoa.org/coronavirus.

[44] National Emergency Management Association, NEMA Resources, available at: https://www.nemaweb.org/index.php/resources#webinars.