Frequently Asked Questions: Grants and Vouchers
Does the “Suspension of Capital Projects” memo (issued March 30 from Office of Financial Management) restricting construction projects that use capital funding apply to conservation districts?
We sought clarification from the Governor’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) on that memo. We asked about our structure of granting capital funds to conservation districts. Here’s the clarification that we received:
"State agencies can continue to provide pass-through or grant funding to non-state project sponsors as provided in the capital budget, and grant recipients should make their own determination as to whether their work is essential based on the governor’s memo dated March 25, 2020."
The “Suspension of Capital Projects” memo stated that work that could be performed remotely could continue using capital funding.
The former guidance, resources, and information that we have provided still applies, and each conservation district is responsible for making the decision to continue to perform any work that cannot be done remotely or electronically. Here is the full clarification memo from OFM. The clarification memo states:
Please keep in mind and communicate to your project partners:
- Even if this guidance signals that a project is allowed to proceed, the entity administering the public works contract should evaluate each project and the associated risks to health and safety to make their own determination.
- All active projects must have a COVID-19 protection plan in place, including social distancing and remote work whenever possible.
If a District has hired a contractor directly, it is in your best interests to request a copy of the contractor’s COVID 19 Protection Plan for your records.
Is a signature still required on the summary page of the SCC grant voucher?
Yes, a signature by an authorized district signatory who is authorized to sign grant vouchers is still required on the summary page when submitting grant vouchers to the SCC. If an original handwritten signature or an image of the authorized signatory’s handwritten signature can’t be applied to the document, an authentic electronic signature can be applied. Common tools for applying an electronic signature include Adobe Fill & Sign or DocuSign. Please notify and work with your Regional Manager if you’re struggling with getting an authorized signature on the summary page.
Our district has several grants from federal agencies with deadlines and due dates coming up. Where can we find information about any adjustments or extensions of those deadlines?
The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently issued a memorandum with some guidance for federal agencies administering grants and managing programs during the COVID 19 outbreak. Each agency may now have more flexibility to provide extensions or other relief to grantees. Please check with your specific federal grant administrator contact for more specific details.
What are the impacts to SCC grants and planned outcomes?
- Our fiscal year-end is approaching on June 30, 2020 for SCC operating funds grants (implementation, engineering, irrigation efficiencies TA). It’s important for conservation districts to review their planned outcomes for these grants and ensure they have alternate activities in mind if planned activities (workshops, in-person outreach, volunteer gatherings, etc.) are discouraged/prohibited due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
- All districts are encouraged to review their planned outcomes, especially for their Implementation Grants, and make any necessary adjustments to those outcomes if needed. To adjust the budget between grant outcomes, please complete a Budget Revision Form, and submit it to the Commission.
- If a district needs to revise the grant deliverables or the scope of work in an outcome, please email Courtney Woods and copy your Regional Manager.
- New (April 9): If districts are using the Implementation Grant for cost share projects, just a reminder that those projects must be fully complete by June 30, 2020. If you need to make an adjustment to the outcomes in your Implementation Grant, please do so right away using the Budget Revision Form.
- Capital funds grants such as Natural Resource Investments, Shellfish, Livestock Technical Assistance, and RCPP are funds that are available for the full biennium so there is more time to complete the work under these grants. They do not end until June 30, 2021.
Is the SCC still processing vouchers?
Yes, the SCC has made arrangements to provide timely processing of vouchers for all our grants. At this time, monthly vouchering for SCC grants is still required.If you are anticipating a challenge in meeting this requirement, please work with your Regional Manager and check back to this FAQ web-page often for updated information.
How is the Department of Ecology managing grants and agreements during the COVID-19 outbreak?
The Department of Ecology released a letter to recipients of water quality grant and loan projects (March 19). It includes notification that all business interactions have been shifted to teleworking when possible and provides a list of the affected Water Quality funding programs. It notes that staff are readily available by email. Lastly, the letter notes their goal to be flexible in working through issues. Please contact one of the Water Quality Team members assigned to your project, or you can contact one of their Financial Section Managers through the contact information provided in the letter.
What about deadlines and due dates for grants and agreements with other state agencies? Where can CDs find updated information?
- Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO): A letter posted to RCO’s website provides notice that staff are working from home and can be reached via telephone or email. You may find contact information for staff online. Staff will be reaching out and working with sponsors of active projects. Deadlines for a number of RCO grant applications have been adjusted, please stayed tuned to their grants webpage for updates. Other updates will be available on the RCO website and Facebook page..
- Department of Natural Resources (DNR): Please refer to the DNR website and contact page for updated information.
- Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) has developed a COVID 19 webpage with updated information.
- The Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has provided updated information and resources on a dedicated COVID 19 webpage.