It is important to think about all that comes with managing a new federal program for your government, ideally before you apply for it – and especially before you accept it. New federal awards are like getting a new puppy; they come with ramifications, implications and potential future costs for your government. If you think those things through, and understand what you are taking on, then you will be in a better position to manage the new award.
Government offices at all levels experienced upheaval during the COVID-19 pandemic, with added complexity and disrupted timelines for all kinds of work. The scale of federal grant money to be managed – and then audited – was unprecedented. In this blog post, the Office of the Washington State Auditor explains how the increased number and size of federal grants to be audited has affected local governments’ federal single audits.
As we performed federal single audits this year, a common issue arose – a lack of compliance with federal wage rate requirements. Much of the issue stems from local governments that managed federally funded construction projects for the first time but did not provide enough training to their staff on federal wage rate requirements.
The American Rescue Plan Act and the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are sending significant amounts of federal funds to Washington. This means that local governments will be spending more federal funds than ever. If you spend more than $750,000 in federal funds a year, you'll need a Single Audit examining your compliance with the requirements of your program(s).
Originally published May 26, 2022
Updated September 6, 2023
Almost every federal program, including new programs related to COVID-19 economic relief, has reporting requirements for recipients. That's because federal granting agencies rely on your reports to ensure you are using funds to achieve program objectives and to make future funding decisions.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF), assistance listing number of 21.027. CSLFRF provides $65.1 billion directly to counties and another $65.1 billion to cities and other municipalities. These funds represent a substantial infusion of resources to meet pandemic response needs and rebuild a stronger and more equitable economy as the country recovers.
Governments that spend $750,000 or more in federal awards during their fiscal year must receive a Single Audit to determine their compliance with certain federal requirements. If your government has received a Single Audit—either annually or at some point in the past—you might have wondered how your auditor selected federal programs for audit.
The influx of money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (Assistance Listing 21.019) prompted many cities and counties to make more subawards than they have the past. Passing along federal money to others does not relieve governments of grant compliance requirements—in fact, it adds to them. The State Auditor's Office is seeing an increase in audit issues around subrecipient monitoring, primarily due to lack of awareness of the requirements.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CSLFRF) program, administered by the U.S. Treasury, Assistance Listing Number 21.027. One eligible use of these program funds allows governments to replace lost revenue in order to avoid cuts in their services.