FEMA released interim guidance on April 5, 2021, on eligible public assistance to implement the President’s directive allowing FEMA to pay 100% federal funding for the costs of activities that have previously been determined eligible. Reimbursement of eligible costs are covered from the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020 to September 30, 2021. Items that may be eligible for reimbursement include personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfection, COVID-19 diagnostic testing, screening and temperature scanning, portable temporary physical barriers for social distancing, and the purchase and storage of PPE and other supplies based on projected needs.
On April 6, FEMA released guidance on issues related to audits of COVID-19 public assistance, including documenting and accounting for disaster costs, minimizing the potential loss of FEMA funding, maximizing financial recovery, and tips on procurement and contracting during emergency and exigent circumstances.
Awaiting Treasury Guidance on the American Rescue Plan
ICMA met with Treasury officials on March 30 to discuss areas where local governments seek clarifications of allowable uses of the funds as well as any restrictions, reporting requirements, and timeframes. ICMA stressed the value of including examples with the guidance and consistency with Coronavirus Relief Fund eligible expenses. Treasury’s priorities are to:
- Get payments to local governments out within 60 days of the legislation (May 11).
- Issue comprehensive guidance on how the funds can be spent.
- Set up systems to make payments and to handle reporting and compliance.
Deadline for Earmarks (Community Projects) is April 30
The House deadline to submit requests for community projects (formerly known as earmarks) is April 30. Each representative may submit up to 10 total requests. As noted in the March 18 webinar by The Ferguson Group and the March 24 webcast offered by ICMA and Sustainable Strategies DC, local governments need to make a convincing case for why their project should be a priority. The moratorium on earmarks imposed in 2010 was lifted in early 2021.