Council OKs plan to pay out remaining hardship cash


In a special session on June 25, the Navajo Nation Council unanimously passed a bill to establish a Phase II CARES Fund spending plan for hardship cases.

The bill would provide funding to eligible Navajo tribesmen who did not receive funds under the initial hardship payments.

The second phase will be funded from the remaining $ 41.97 million in the Hardship Fund from the Navajo Allocation from the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, plus any investment income.

In August 2020, the Navajo Nation Council decided to provide financial assistance to Navajo people and families in financial need due to the coronavirus pandemic and public health orders, and passed the Navajo Nation CARES Hardship Assistance spending plan Find.

Of the $ 361.5 million that ended up in the hardship that included repayments from unfinished CARES Act projects and services, $ 319.5 million was spent on hardship payments to 308,000 Navajos.

Acting Controller Elizabeth Begay confirmed that her office is now able to retrieve hardship claim information from Baker Tilly, the accounting firm that former Controller Pearline Kirk hired to manage the hardship support portal.

With an amendment added by Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton, the bill prioritizes payments to 1,865 Navajos who applied by November 30, 2020, the hardship application deadline, but did not receive checks because certain documents such as CIB were not submitted, or personal information such as date of birth or addresses was incorrect or inconsistent with existing records.

“The legislation opens the harshness to anyone who did not apply,” said Charles-Newton. “My amendment says that the 1,865 people who applied before the deadline but didn’t receive their checks will be processed first.

“They did everything they should, but they ran into problems that were beyond their control,” she said. “It’s all about being fair.”

Begay said it would take a total of $ 2.45 million to process the checks to the 1,865 claimants out of the remaining $ 41.97 million, and that payments must be made by July 31st, provided that all outstanding application problems have been resolved.

For these individuals, the payments of $ 1,350 for adults and $ 450 for children are the same as those received by previous applicants.

After the payments were distributed to the 1,865, Begay said the remaining 90,135 of the 399,494 enrolled Navajos who did not apply for hardship or missed the deadline were under phase. Apply for payments from the balance of $ 39.52 million II.

However, if all 90,135 apply, they would only get an estimated $ 438 per person, she said.

The bill states that the controller’s office will “set, publish and implement a 60-day filing deadline for eligible Navajos who have not previously received hardship funds …”.

“Our office has the authority to set the start and end dates of the 60-day application period for Phase II,” said Begay.

As it stands, Begay plans to open the application period on August 1st and last until September 30th.

Begay previously suggested that when the remaining funds ($ 39.52 million) in the Hardship Assistance Fund are used up, the council will likely have access to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to accommodate all Navajos who make the first round of Hardship Assistance in excess of $ 438 per person.

But that too would have to be regulated by law by the Council.

Regardless, Begay has estimated that it will take an additional $ 600 million to accommodate 399,494 enrolled Navajos with a new round of ARPA hardship support of $ 2,000 per adult and $ 1,000 per child, which is roughly one-third of the $ 1.9 billion ARPA funding allocated to the Navajos equals nation.

Council OKs incentive settlement for constructing of leisure venue | Native

The Harker Heights Council unanimously voted Tuesday to approve a 380 economic development incentive agreement with Gambit Social House, Inc., which will build and operate an entertainment venue for the city along FM 2410.

The project improvements that Gambit has approved will be in the area where Cedar Knob Road ends and then joins FM 2410 and will be completed on or before March 31, 2022 as specified in the agreement.

This family entertainment center project will include a 12,000 square meter entertainment venue that will house a pub, restaurant and 9-hole mini golf course with top golf technology; eight escape rooms and a 400 square meter event space.

Gambit has also agreed to set up three outdoor ax throwing tracks, beach volleyball facilities, other games, and seating areas on the premises.

City Manager David Mitchell said, “This was the type of project that came up during our Exploring New Heights study a few years ago that was number one in terms of what families wanted.

“Second, we don’t have that, so it could easily become regional and bring in people from other parts of the county.”

Mitchell added, “The cumulative amount of grant payments under this agreement will not exceed $ 150,299. Once the cumulative amount of economic development grants (real estate economic development grants plus sales-related economic development grants) is $ 150,299, the city has no further obligation to pay grants under the agreement and the agreement ends “Said Mitchell.

What the council did with this 380 is performance based. The city does not give the builder any money in advance. All funds they produce will be returned to them.

“In other words, right now, the value of the property is the value of the dirt,” said Mitchell. “Gambit will build a structure on this that will add value to this property. The council agreed to reimburse half of the increase in taxes that come into the city over a five-year period, as well as half of the sales tax.

“That means citizens and the city will receive half of the property tax they produce and half of the sales tax during that period, up to $ 150,299,” Mitchell said.

The city used 380 agreements to lure the Market Heights Mall and Seton Medical Center to Harker Heights.

Mitchell, said, “It is important to reiterate that this is discount and performance driven. The city does not distribute treasury dollars to attract a company to the city. These are dollars that are produced by the company and we will reimburse a portion of what they generate to lure them to this place. “

In return for the economic development grants provided for in this agreement, Gambit agrees to make a minimum investment of $ 2 million in the project improvements, increasing the estimated value of $ 2 million (over the estimated property value in 2021) for The ad valorem property tax will be increased for purposes, as certified by the Bell County Appraisal District, from tax year 2022 on the City of Harker Heights tax registers.

Gambit also agrees to hold at least $ 2 million in total taxable assets on the property for each of the five years through 2026.

So-called 380 agreements are approved by the state and allow cities to set up and manage one or more programs for granting or loaning public funds to promote economic development.

Mitchell told the Herald, “It is not referred to as 380 for any reason other than that found in Chapter 380 of the Local Government Code.

With extra ‘hope cash’ from feds on the horizon, South Dakota’s transportation fee OKs changing 31 bridges

“We know we have a number of bridges in disrepair,” said Tammy Williams, SDDOT program manager, during a meeting of the South Dakota Transportation Commission Thursday, April 29th. But Williams told the commission that federal grants could be in excess of $ 30 million annually for the next four years.

When asked how reliable this funding could be, she replied, “However, we are programming for it … and we just hope.”

“Hope money,” interjected Commissioner Mike Vehleto laugh at.

The bridges of the state of South Dakota are more sobering, however.

A national trade group released a report Earlier this year, South Dakota was found to have the fourth worst rating of structurally weak bridges in the country.

And while the congress is debating duel infrastructure approaches – President Biden announces he plans to spend more than $ 2 trillion while Republicans of the Senate have proposed a reduced $ 500 billion plan – South Dakotans, who depend on federal dollars for bridge funding, listen.

State officials said that on Thursday deteriorated conditions are not largely found in the inventory of around 1,800 directly owned by the state.

“Our government structures are in pretty good shape,” SDDOT’s chief bridge engineer Steve Johnson told the commission.

However, conditions are becoming more precarious for the 3,900 buildings in counties or cities where the average bridge age (51 years) is seven years older than the national average (44). On Thursday, Williams said that 25% of that inventory is classified as “in poor condition” by the state.

“The county system came a little earlier,” Williams said, noting that roads and associated bridges were built from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, decades before the highway system on which many state structures rest. “Many of the local structures date from this time.”

But she said they are “making progress”.

Last year, a federal-local program funded the repair of 49 structures. On Thursday, the commission unanimously approved the approval of $ 21.5 million 31 Replacing structures – and remove another 11 – currently in the public inventory of the bridges and place them in the coming year Planning budget.

“It’s good business,” Williams commented.

The bridges, she said, were selected by a scoring system that awarded applicants points based on the condition of the bridge and its “impact on the user”. The bridges awarded include a number that crosses the various waterways, which state officials in certain areas of South Dakota have identified as a constant challenge.

“If you look at the east side of the state, you can actually see the major rivers that flow through South Dakota and the tributaries that flow into them,” noted Mike Behm, director of the planning and engineering division who provided the commission on Thursday with a structure condition report summarizing the conditions of the 5,700 public bridges in South Dakota that cover 82,000 miles of carriageway.

Of the 31 bridges to be replaced, four cross Wolf Creek in rural Hand County, while others include structures that span the Big Sioux and Miller Creek in Spearfish.

South Burlington OKs faculty funds, further cash for college and highway repairs

South Burlington voters approved a school budget of $ 55.6 million Tuesday, in addition to several other measures designed to raise funds for the city’s schools and streets.

The budget was approved without any problems, 3,145 to 2,764 – despite considerable difficulties in approving a school budget in recent years.

Last year on Town Meeting Day, voters in South Burlington did declined A $ 209 million plan to build a massive new complex that will include a middle school, high school, and sports center. At the same time, they also cut a proposed school budget of $ 55.8 million. Voters again in May 2020 declined a smaller proposed budget of $ 53.7 million – and with an even greater margin of maneuver than in the original vote.

Finally in August the voters approved a spending plan of $ 52.5 million with a vote of approximately 3,900 to 3,400 votes. To achieve this plan, school officials said They had to cut everything from athletics to advanced internship classes, in addition to a salary freeze for non-union workers and a hiring freeze for new teachers.

The $ 55.6 million budget approved this year is $ 16,852 per student – 4.31% more than current year spending.

Two additional voting questions on school financing were also answered without any problems on Tuesday.

The first, asking voters to approve an additional $ 2.5 million to replace the school’s roof and carry out related construction, went from 3,464 to 2,360. The second claim for a surplus from the 2021 financial year for “unexpected, non-reimbursable expenses” in the 2022 financial year due to the Covid-19 pandemic went from 4,525 to 1,345.

Voters on Tuesday also approved a city budget of $ 50.7 million, from 3,770 to 2,092. The city also voted 3,847 to 1,988 votes to approve a $ 4 million budget allocation for a number of highway improvement projects.

The money would finance the engineering and construction of the Garden Street project between Dorset Street and Williston Road, as well as modernization of the intersections on White Street and Midas Drive, and Hinesburg Road and Patchen Road.

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In addition, incumbent Matt Cota, with around 2,900 votes, beat out challenger David Kaufman, who received 2,600 votes, for the open seat on the city council, and the two open seats on the school board were filled by Travia Childs (two-year tenure) and Rebecca Day ( three-year tenure) after the roles of Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Martin LaLonde respectively were vacated.

The turnout was roughly at the level of the officials’ expectations – with 6,005 voters, almost 39%.

Officials from South Burlington said they typically see a turnout of around 5,000 on Town Meeting Day – out of the city’s 14,000 active voters. In the presidential election in November that number rose to around 12,000.

City clerk Donna Kinville called it a “good number for a city get-together.”

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NC Senate OK’s invoice distributing federal COVID reduction cash – Salisbury Publish

By Bryan Anderson
Associated Press / Report for America

RALEIGH – North Carolina state senators on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to distribute funds that the state secured through the federal government’s December stimulus package.

If the schools were approved by the House of Representatives and then signed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, they would receive $ 1.6 billion to reopen classrooms with face-to-face tuition, purchase educational technology, and reduce those exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic Support learning gaps.

Over $ 546 million in federal funding would be used to help North Carolinians in need of emergency rent, while nearly $ 95 million would be given to the State Department of Health to help local health officials spread the Pfizer and Moderna -Coronavirus to support vaccinations.

The state is well on its way to receiving more than 145,000 new initial doses from the federal government in the next three weeks.

The Coronavirus Relief Act, approved by the Senate on Wednesday, also supports direct payments to more parents.

Parents who missed the opportunity to receive checks for $ 335 in the past year to offset distance learning and childcare expenses would have until May 31 to claim the so-called additional loan grants to take. The bill extends the program that expired in the fall and paves the way for thousands of families who are still eligible for direct checks in order to receive them.

Many parents who want to get their children back into physical classrooms currently have no way of doing so. A separate bill, backed by Republican lawmakers, would force districts to provide at least partial in-person tuition to all 1.5 million students in the state, although parents must still be given the opportunity to continue learning their children remotely to let.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday urged school authorities to deviate from offers for remote controls only, but declined to request. He opposes the Republican bill that has drawn the ire of teacher advocates who are concerned about the safety and lack of prioritization of vaccines. While members of the House of Representatives ponder the Coronavirus Relief Act Thursday, the Senators will vote on the proposal to reopen the school.