Franklin County received a strong response to its request for proposals for a consulting firm to report federal stimulus fund spending.
The county received 10 bids, with some from the region and others from across the United States. The county is getting $ 20.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, which it has until the end of 2026 to spend.
Commissioners plan to meet May 3 with County Treasurer Debbie Aholt and Auditor Angela Gibson to choose a consulting firm, Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said.
“The reporting aspect is a drudgery for everybody,” Brinker said in a Tuesday meeting of elected officials. “And these people have experience in it. So we’re looking forward to seeing what that looks like. “
Companies that bid were: BDO USA LLP and Ernst & Young LLP, both of St. Louis; Viriya Consulting LLC, of Joplin; Baker Tilly US LLP, of Overland Park, Kansas; UHY Advisors, of Columbia, Maryland; BerryDunn, of Portland, Maine; iParametrics LLC, of Alpharetta, Georgia; Anser Advisory Consulting LLC, of Chicago; NAN McKay & Associates Inc., of El Cajon, California; and The Elite Group Inc., which does business as Elite Disaster Consulting, of Mint Hill, North Carolina.
The bid amounts and scope of work proposed were not available at press time.
The company the county chooses will ensure it is reporting the federal money it spends properly, Brinker said.
“We’ve established the interest, that’s for sure,” he said. “We want to make sure to do is establish the exact, proper procedural process, and keep us within the guidelines of the process.”
Some of the companies making bids have sparked controversy in other parts of the country. According to WCHS, an “intense debate” took place with the city council in Charleston, West Virginia, when that city considered paying BDO $ 500,000 to manage the $ 37 million that city was getting from ARPA. Some said Charleston could use programs with the state auditor’s office for free.
The Flint (Michigan) City Council is paying Ernst & Young $ 1.15 million for a one-year contract, with options to renew for future years at somewhat lower costs, to manage the $ 94.7 million it is receiving from the federal government, according to Flint Beat. .
Baker Tilly worked with the city of La Porte, Indiana, in discussing the mayor’s vision for the city “three years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now,” according to American City & County.
UHY is managing the disbursement of 20.8 million in federal funds for Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, according to the Delco Times.
The bid amount will be one of the factors in deciding on a firm, but not the only one, Brinker said. “Sometimes it’s the lowest best bid, but it’s also what’s going to get us the results we want for the people who are paying for it?” he said. “People forget that these dollars are every taxpayer’s dollars in this nation. And we need to treat them as though they are everyone’s dollars. So we are looking forward to these funds provided by us taxpayers to put in place in Franklin County. “
The US Department of Treasury’s website features a 43-page guide on reporting and compliance responsibilities for ARPA recipients. It says local governments that receive money are responsible for ensuring the funds are used for eligible purposes and there is no waste, fraud or abuse.
The county is also preparing to put applications for ARPA funding for local nonprofits and governments online, Brinker said.