The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) yesterday released an updated FAQ document that eases the reporting and records retention requirements concerning the use of federal funds to pay for, and reimburse, expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) provides $150 billion in aid for state, county and municipal governments with populations of over 500,000 people to address necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
In a win for counties, OIG’s updated guidance addresses concerns made by the bipartisan organizations representing state and local governments, including the National Association of Counties, which voiced concerns over the new requirements associated with reporting and tracking payroll expenses for public safety, public health, and human services employees who are “substantially dedicated” to addressing and mitigating the impacts of COVID-19.
According to NACo:
The requirements outlined in OIG’s original August 28 guidance were more extensive than what was required under the U.S. Treasury’s guidance released on August 10, which focused on flexibility for local governments in order to ease administrative burdens.
Counties expressed concern that these late additions to CRF reporting requirements may prevent counties from receiving reimbursements for payroll expenses incurred during the pandemic, severely impacting budget forecasts.
NACo applauds the U.S. Treasury for modifying the OIG reporting requirements, which will help counties with payroll expenses for public safety, public health and human services employees addressing the impacts of COVID-19.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.