West Virginia was allocated over one billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan when it was signed into law by President Biden earlier this month. Municipalities across the state are set to divvy up $677 million, but State Auditor J.B. McCusky wants to remind cities and towns of a tool his office has for assistance ensuring the money is spent properly.
McCuskey encouraged local municipalities to utilize the West Virginia Checkbook program at a meeting yesterday at Logan City Hall between the Auditor and local leaders.The checkbook program assists an agency with tracking expenditures and informing the public of the spending through an online dashboard.
W.Va. Auditor J.B. McCuskey
“A pretty extensive program and plan in place that will help our
cities and counties to spend this money effectively and
transparently,” McCuskey said. “Also, to give them the ability to start
to pool some of this money together to tackle larger scale infrastructure problems.”
McCuskey anticipates an account from each local government receiving the federal funds.
The funds are anything but a blank check. Money from the rescue plan may be used to recover losses incurred during the pandemic and infrastructure projects.
McCuskey spoke with WVOW’s Jay Nunley during the Monday edition of What’s Your Opinion. McCuskey said that major infrastructure projects like roads, sewer and water should take priority over other projects such as broadband.
“These are things that need to get done,” McCuskey said. “We have a generationally large amount of money coming into our local governments that’s going to enable them, in my opinion for the first time, to tackle these problems without having to go through state and federally bureaucracies that often slow these programs down.”
The checkbook program would provide the online dashboard to follow where money is spent and how much remains to be spent.
Moreover, the Auditor said that guidance on spending the money could change many times.
“They’ll change faster than people can keep up,” McCuskey said.
The Auditor’s office will be the point place for local governments to know what they can and can not do.