Departments’ 2020 budgets didn’t reflect CARES Act reimbursements

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CARES Act reimbursements

BLUE RIDGE, Ga: Several county departments never received their CARES Act reimbursement funds in 2020 despite the county having the money.

Chairman Jamie Hensley addressed the matter during the February 9, 2021 meeting, stating that at least one department was showing over by 175 percent.

“Unbeknownst to the commissioners, I can honestly say that they really didn’t know. This is something that we just found out,” Hensley said.

These departments spent funds from their capital outlay budgets to safely maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state gave Fannin CARES Act funds specifically for coronavirus-related improvements.  T

The departments’ financials weren’t changed to reflect the addition of the CARES Act. The money went into the general fund account. Board of Commissioners needed to move a line item to demonstrate that these departments weren’t grossly overbudget.

“We’re not actually putting money back into their budget. It’s all in one pot like in the general fund. It’s just going to be a reflection of the actual budget line-item number,” County Clerk and Interim CFO Sherri Walker explained.

Outgoing Chairman Stan Helton and resigned Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway never met with Hensley before he assumed office. The CFO resigned before he took office. As a result, no one explained the reasoning for leaving the money in the general fund and not updating departments’ budgets.

Fannin Board of Commissioners also discussed Whitepath.

Hensley asked the department heads for all their receipts to accurately adjust, monitor, and reimburse their COVID-19 expenses. Presently, at least five departments need their budgets to be made whole from 2020.

Post One Earl Johnson

Post One Earl Johnson wanted to know why the CARES Act reimbursement money sat in the general fund.

“We applied for that to receive COVID funding to do all those things. All we’re doing is using the money for what it was intended for, not to beef up the general fund account. I have no idea why or how it happened,” Post One Earl Johnson stated, “I think all of these budgets, in my opinion, need to be made whole for expenditures that were caused by COVID because we got federal funds to do so.”

Post Two Glenn Patterson echoed that sentiment.

To prevent a similar situation from happening in the future, Hensley suggested setting up a separate account for such funds as the CARES Act. With an established account, the county can know the exact amount remaining or if a department needs reimbursement.

County Attorney Lynn Doss added that legally Fannin needs a file that documents all COVID-19 expenses in case of a future audit.

The board agreed to get all the receipts together before making a motion to approve moving the money.

They’re in the process of interviewing for a new CFO and human resources person.

Gov. Kemp and UGA Provide Overview of CARES Act Funding

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Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp and the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided an overview of the funding allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This critical funding will help small businesses keep workers employed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the University of Georgia’s 17 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the state has launched an information website to provide guidance on accessing a variety of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

Beginning April 6, these state partners will host a series of web-based information sessions tailored to each region of the state. In addition, SBDC will be available to assist businesses, where necessary.

The CARES Act provides funds for SBA to aid small businesses through its network of private small business lenders. Georgia has more than 70 qualified SBA lenders, and detailed information about the following vital lending programs can also be found HERE.

“Small businesses are the engine of Georgia’s economy and provide economic opportunity for millions of Georgia families,” said Governor Kemp. “As we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, this critical resource will provide a lifeline to small businesses across our state. I am encouraging all Georgians to support their local businesses in this difficult time. We will get through this together.”

“The Georgia Department of Economic Development is continuing to work with our partners statewide to confront COVID-19 and move forward together,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We thank Governor Kemp, DCA, and SBDC for working together with us to better and more efficiently serve our state’s small businesses at this time of great need.”

“DCA is proud to work with our state partners to support the small businesses that are such a vital part of the communities we serve,” said DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn.

“The University of Georgia has a strong track record of helping to develop new small businesses across the state. Assisting these firms to navigate COVID-19 aligns perfectly with our land-grant mission,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

Kemp and UGA’s SBDC released a list of SBA lenders.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
A new $349 billion lending program under the existing SBA 7(a) program. The SBA guarantee of PPP loans will be 100 percent through the end of 2020. PPP loan payments will be deferred for a minimum of six and up to twelve months. Loans will be administered through local and regional banks; any federally regulated bank may become an SBA lender for this purpose. The Department of the Treasury will issue regulations for these loans quickly.

Eligibility: Small businesses as defined by SBA size standards, generally up to 500 employees, but up to 1,500 depending on the sector; sole proprietors, the self-employed, and independent contractors.
The interest rate will not exceed 4 percent; currently fixed at 0.5 percent.
Regulatory streamlining: SBA’s standard “no credit elsewhere” test is waived, no personal guarantee or collateral required, and no additional fees will be applied to these loans.
Size of loans: Up to $10 million. Loan amount is based on recent payroll costs, compensation paid to individuals, including those who are self-employed. Compensation in excess of $100,000 per year to any individual is excluded.
Requirements: The business must certify the loan will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, make mortgage or lease payments, and pay utilities.
Loans may be forgiven, up to an amount equaling eligible payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility cost, incurred during the eight-week period starting from the loan origination. Compensation in excess of $100,000 a year to any individual will not qualify for forgiveness. Additionally, loan forgiveness is reduced by layoffs or pay reductions in excess of 25 percent, and loan forgiveness is not treated as taxable income.

Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance

Eligibility: Advances are available to small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses in operation on January 31, 2020.
For those that apply for the EIDL, an advance of up to $10,000 will be provided to small businesses within several days of applying for the loan.
The advance does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EDL.
Funds can be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

Eligibility: Businesses with 500 employees or fewer. This includes sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives, ESPOs, and tribal small businesses with <= 500 employees.
Up to $2 million can be provided to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met if the disaster did not occur.
Loans can be made based solely on credit scores.
The interest rate on EIDLs will be 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses.
The first twelve payments will be deferred and not become due until one year after the original disbursement. Interest does not accrue during this time.
The term of these loans will be up to thirty years.

7(a) Loan Payment Relief

SBA will pay the principal, interest, and any associated fees owed on 7(a) loans as follows:

Existing borrower not on deferment: six months beginning with the next payment due on the loan;
Existing borrower on deferment: six months of payments beginning with the next payment due on the loan after the deferment period; and
New borrower: six months of payments beginning with the first payment due on the loan, but only for new loans made within the first six months starting from the date of enactment.

Should you need assistance, the UGA Small Business Development Center offices across the state are open and available. Contact information for every office is available HERE.

Earlier today Kemp released details on Medicaid and Peachcare waiver. 

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