RIO GRANDE COUNTY- Rio Grande Commissioners held a work session with city and town managers throughout the county to discuss the allocation of funding that can be received from the Department of Local Affairs and the CARES Act for reimbursement of expenses made due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding would be allocated to the fiscal agent on a reimbursement approval schedule and could potentially help with expenses incurred moving forward.
Christy Doon with the Department of Labor Affairs (DOLA) was present during the work session to answer questions and clarify the procedure that would need to be put in place in order for the county to be designated as the fiscal agent for Center, Monte Vista, Del Norte and South Fork. City and town officials were asked to compile expenses already spent to determine how much funding would be reimbursed as of May and to give an estimate of expenses that could be reimbursed through the end of the year.
Doon explained that she had issued a U.S. Treasury Guidance and Eligibility Document to all respective parties to help guide them through the process of requesting reimbursement for expenses. “A letter is submitted to DOLA designating Rio Grande County as the fiscal agent and then towns need to compile all expenses used for COVID-19 that are eligible for reimbursement in accordance with the document from the U.S. Treasury. The funds are available now and include an estimate that is earmarked for the county that can carry through the remainder of 2020.”
It was discussed that the county would be the fiscal agent and reimburse each municipality and then submit a request of reimbursement through DOLA as well as be responsible for determining whether a request is approved or disapproved for reimbursement.
All officials agreed to sign a letter of agreement that would make each municipality responsible for any reimbursement that was denied through DOLA. For example, if Del Norte submitted a request for reimbursement through Rio Grande County and it was approved by the county but then denied later by DOLA, Del Norte would be responsible for repayment of the money to the county.
According to Doon, due to the number of requests that will be flooding through the department, it would be difficult to determine the timeframe of when the county would receive a reimbursement. Officials decided to make a final decision during their respective meetings that will be taking place over the next couple of weeks and would be prepared to designate Rio Grande County as the fiscal agent for CARES Act funding by the first week of July.
The funding reimbursement program will help curve some of the weight of unforeseen expenses made during the pandemic and continue to ease the fiscal impact of the pandemic through the end of the year.