By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — An agreement with Baker Tilly Consulting Services was approved at the Warsaw Board of Works and Safety meeting Friday, July 2, to help manage $3.4 million the city is eligible for in COVID-19 relief funds.
“Those guidelines from the Department of Treasury are continuing to change and be brought out as we speak… it’s an evolving situation,” Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said. “We certainly want to make sure with the way this thing is written that we’re following the eligibility uses of those funds.”
Thallemer said compliance is a big issue with regard to the funding and he feels the city would benefit from the assistance of a financial consultant.
“At any rate, the point here is that utilizing Baker Tilly to assist navigating all the federal requirements, assuring that we leverage these funds with state funds and other ARP (American Rescue Plan) funds is really critical and really important,” Thallemer said. “And that’s the reason for this agreement with them.”
The scope of work to be performed by Baker Tilley includes, in part:
Assist in preparation to receive and effectively deploy allocated funds.
Assist with cash flow management plan.
Assist in developing a strategy to match community priorities to available funding.
Assist with preparation of budgets and appropriations of FRF (Fiscal Recovery Fund)
Assist in developing a plan for transparency and stakeholder inclusion
Assist in evaluating and pursuing additional funding included in the ARP.
Councilman Jeff Grose described it as “another opportunity for check and balance.”
“Like you said, there are a lot of i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed, so it will be a very positive thing,” Grose said.
The American Rescue Plan provides $350 billion dollars in emergency funding for state, local, territorial and Tribal governments to remedy the mismatch between rising costs and falling revenues, according to https://home.treasury.gov
“This will be a great assistance as we work through this,” Thallemer said. “And the one thing, I’ve talked about this before and I’ll add it again, this doesn’t have to happen right away. We’ve been advised to take our time with this. There’s plenty of time. We have through December 2024 to utilize these funds.”
In another matter, six vendor contracts were approved for services such as a wood carving demo, balloon artists and caricature artists related to the Warsaw Parks & Recreation Department’s Fall Family Fun and Family Carnival events.
“These are all things we had planned for last year and didn’t get to have them,” said Warsaw Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer.
Both events are large, lasting about three hours each, Plummer said. The contracts are with vendors they have used in the past.
Five travel requests were also approved. They included two Warsaw Police officers attending training in Illinois to obtain Cellebrite certification in data recovery/digital investigations; an officer participating in drug interdiction training in Kokomo; and two city employees attending the 2021 Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (INAFSM) Annual Conference in Evansville.
In other news:
- A grant of easement agreement was approved in reference to the Springhill Road drainage easement.
- The next regular meeting will be 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 19.