American Rescue Act money focus of auditor’s visit

The American Rescue Plan.
The American Rescue Plan.(WhiteHouse.Gov)
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - West Virginia’s auditor has indicated “I’s” need to be dotted and “T’s” need to be crossed, in spending the massive allocations from the American Rescue Act.

“Here is the spreadsheet that explains what we’re spending it on, what contractor we’re using, when we spent it and how long it took,” said J.B. McCuskey, West Virginia Auditor.

It’s an issue about which local government leaders from throughout the state had questions, during a Monday session featuring representatives from Sen. Joe Manchin’s office.

“There are a lot of questions on how those dollars can be spent, what type of reporting will be involved, things of that nature,” said Jennifer Piercy, Executive Director, County Commissioners Association of West Virginia, wrapping up a weekend association conference at the Blennerhassett Hotel.

Broadband, in particular, is an issue common to several counties, and the counties in border states.

“I don’t believe there’s anything in the guidance that disallows collaborative efforts between states,” McCuskey told Wood County Commission President Blair Couch.

“But is the state of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, doing anything similar to this?” Couch replied.

McCuskey: “I doubt it.”

Local governments have until the end of 2024 to spend the money they get. But they realize people have needs now.

“There’s certainly needs, and we don’t want to be holding on to those needing,” said Pleasants County Commissioner Jay Powell. “We want to be pray hard about, and use wisdom to spend those dollars wisely.”

Couch also noted more money may be coming, depending on the outcome of infrastructure legislation Congress may be considering.

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