Ahead of submission date for documents pertaining to the county’s use of American Rescue Plan funds, Jones County Auditor Whitney Hein went over how she’s handling the allotment from the federal government.
As of the current submission, those funds are still at zero as the county has not allocated any of the funds they have received. None of the funds have been spent.
One of those is using the funds as revenue replacement. Under that, COVID contributed to a loss of revenue. To determine whether there was a loss of revenue, they take the base year of Fiscal Year 2019 and compare calendar years, assuming a 4.1% growth. Therefore, even though the county took in more funds in 2020, they would be eligible for loss in revenue given the growth stipulation, with slightly more than $1 million in loss.
Utilizing funds that way allows for fund recipients to utilize funds for any purpose, as opposed to requiring funds to meet certain criteria. However, Hein said she’s not quite comfortable yet with designating funds that way.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and questions about how people are calculating it,” she said. “The risk that you run is that if there’s a miscalculation or you excluded a revenue that you probably really shouldn’t have, that can all come back on the county.”
Hein said she would explore that avenue if the committee wanted her too but said there were several other avenues for the county to spend their funds.
The county has through 2024 to spend the funds received and Hein said she would continue to update the supervisors regularly on the plans for the use of the funding.