Lansdale: Consultant Could Help Oversee Stimulus Fund | Local News
LANSDALE – An outside consultant could come on board to help the Borough of Lansdale navigate, secure and spend federal COVID stimulus dollars.
Borough manager John Ernst reported this week on preliminary discussions with a company the city may hire to do so.
“I had contacted several different consultants to talk about providing services for us with the American Rescue Plan,” Ernst said.
Earlier this year, borough officials heard that the city may be eligible for around $ 1.8 million in federal COVID stimulus funds, coming from various national bills and intended to cover various costs incurred due to the pandemic. Ernst told the board’s administration and finance committee on Wednesday evening that he had had preliminary discussions with accounting firm Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC about the services the firm had provided to the Township of New Hanover to guide them through throughout the relaunch process.
“They have experience in guiding municipalities through different funding programs that have been sponsored and put in place through COVID,” Ernst said.
“They are working with many state agencies, to help create this link between the municipality and the agency,” he said.
The firm has experience in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware and has worked with counties, school districts and local municipalities, and has offices throughout Pennsylvania, including one in Bucks County with which the arrondissement would work. Axelrod can provide the specialist accounting services needed to follow all of the stimulus guidelines, Ernst told the committee – and at minimal cost.
“The funding for this consultant can be paid out of the bailout funding, so it doesn’t come from the borough’s coffers,” he said.
At the start of talks, Axelrod provided a quote of $ 45,000 to provide the services to the borough for the time needed to complete all COVID-related services, which is expected to be six years, and this cost is based on a percentage of funds the city could receive, according to the manager. Staff also reached out to Delta Development, a similar company that has conducted a survey of parking and other services for the city in the past, and Delta indicated a fee of $ 6,000 per month, which could result in other costs. for some work.
City Councilor Carrie Hawkins Charlton said she had recently seen media coverage of New Hanover hiring the company for a similar purpose, and Ernst said the city had raised concerns from counterparts elsewhere.
“There is an ongoing discussion among my colleagues from different municipalities about – so it’s wonderful to get the money back, the documentation, the registration, the verification, that paper trail work that goes with it. with the rationale for that money, back to government, is a bit of an unfunded mandate, ”he said.
“This is something we really didn’t plan on having to do, but doing it is going to take time and money, outside of our normal routine operations with the borough,” Ernst said. .
With staff already starting to think about the city’s 2022 budget season this fall, a representative from the firm may make a presentation to the council in the near future to explain their services. Board chairman Denton Burnell suggested they speak to the full board at a business meeting so that all nine members and the public can ask questions, and Ernst said he would suggest meeting d ‘August 18 council business to do so.
“Let’s read what they want to deliver. Let’s have a few questions, to ask and to answer,” said city councilor Leon Angelichio.
Lansdale Borough Council will meet on July 21 at 7 p.m. at the Borough Municipal Building, 1 Vine Street. For more information visit www.Lansdale.org.