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Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant | FAQS

The Department of Taxes is not currently accepting new applications for the Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant. As submissions are evaluated, applicants will receive notification of their grant decision along with instructions for submitting documentation for reimbursement. We appreciate your patience. Please contact tax.munigrants@vermont.gov for any inquiries regarding your application.

The Local Government Expense Reimbursement (LGER) Grant is funded by the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). CRF guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) has been incorporated in the following FAQ answers, in order to determine the eligibility of expenses for LGER. Please select a to see more information:

General
Expense Eligibility
Technology
Payroll
Timeline
Miscellaneous

General

Q. Is the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) grant considered to be a CRF (Coronavirus Relief Fund) grant?


Q. My town didn’t apply for FEMA because it was too expensive to do so. Can we apply for LGER?


Q. Are there minimum amounts for FEMA and LGER (Local Government Expense Reimbursement)?


Q. If your FEMA eligible expenses are below $3,300, do you still have to apply for FEMA and LGER funding?


Q. If you have a total FEMA-eligible cost of $3,400, will the entire amount be covered by FEMA, or will the $3,300 FEMA minimum be treated like a deductible, resulting in $100 being covered?


Q. What is the per capita limit of LGER?


Q. If a community applies to FEMA and their expenses are not approved, but they don't hear that before they apply for LGER, how can LGER cover the FEMA-denied expenses?


Q. Do we need a denial from FEMA that says we don’t have enough expenses before we can go straight to LGER?


Q. If you have applied for FEMA and think that some expenses will not be eligible should we apply for LGER now?


Q. Can I apply for LGER for expenses that may end up being covered by FEMA, in the event that they are not covered by FEMA?


Q. What are all the various CRF grants that municipalities and units of local government can apply for? 


Q. What if I do not apply for an LGER grant by October 15?


Q. What if I made a mistake on my grant application?


Q. What is Section 601?


Q. Is this a block grant, or a reimbursement grant?


Q. Are municipal park districts and municipal library districts eligible to apply for LGER grants?

 

Expense Eligibility

Q. Is there a list somewhere of FEMA eligible expenses?


Q. Many of our sanitation supplies are purchased by employees and reimbursed through payroll. Is this method adequate for proof of payment for LGER?


Q. For the FEMA grant, it sounded like only expenses incurred for public safety employees are eligible and not all employees. For example, we purchased masks and additional cleaning supplies for all employees and all locations. Can you clarify?


Q. Would medical bills for fit testing for respirators and N95s be eligible for FEMA?


Q. If we submit any expenses that are not eligible for either FEMA or LGER grant, is the rest approved or is the whole thing denied?


Q. Are face coverings for distribution to visitors to town office, retail store, (State Park) public trailhead, town park, etc., eligible for reimbursement? Hygiene stations at these locations? New walls and ventilation for open plan office space?


Q. Are plexiglass barriers at Town Hall, hand sanitizer stations, hand sanitizer, face masks, and latex gloves be covered under LGER?


Q. We do not have $3,300 in expenses, so would the signage, hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass, face masks, online video conferencing platform fees, etc., be covered under LGER?


Q. We purchased porta-john rentals to make up for the fact we closed city hall (and therefore our public restrooms). Which grant would be best used for reimbursement for this?


Q. Are solid waste districts considered critical staff, and if so, do they have to apply to FEMA for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or only through LGER?


Q. Would the cost of thermometers for each municipal department be covered by the LGER grant?


Q. The state guidelines at different stages required signage such as “No Contact Sports” at recreation fields. Is signage related to COVID-19 an eligible expense?


Q. Could you further define LGER Facility Alterations? Is office reorganization to meet minimum spacing requirements eligible?


Q. Which grant would include hotel cost for a first responder who had contact with a COVID-19-positive patient? 


Q. What types of proof of payment are acceptable for expense invoices?


Q. Our EMS provides ambulance services to four other towns. Is our max amount strictly defined by their population or is there a way to factor in the population of the other towns serviced?


Q. The Town has requested additional coverage to address an increase in law enforcement response calls. The increased response calls are directly related to a hotel used by the state for housing the homeless population who can’t be in congregate housing because of COVID-19 related symptoms. Would the additional coverage expense for the Town be eligible?


Q. Would facility alterations include air ventilation systems?


Q. Are municipal park districts eligible to apply for LGER?


Q. A town is requesting reimbursement of recreational fees because rec programs were cancelled due to COVID. The town wants to recoup those fees though the grant. Are these eligible as “other expenses”?


Q. Are the following “other expenses” for COVID reimbursement submitted through the LGER grant eligible?


Q. Are additional costs incurred for Public Safety Building Construction shut down due to COVID eligible as “other expenses”?


Q. Are these types of “other expenses” eligible? They do NOT fall under the Hazard Pay, Overtime or Redirection of Staff grant categories.

“Extra police coverage for our town. This is directly related to COVID because the State has relocated several homeless people in the town, and we have had a significant rise in ambulance, fire and police calls at the place where they are housed. There has also been an increase in vandalism calls that are not reported to the state and are draining our local resources. A request to the Governor resulted in more, but temporary, State Police coverage. The amount of money is based on the charge of $400 per shift for police coverage for every day until the end of December when we can make a new town budget and increase our funding for police.”


Q. The EOC lacks the capability to communicate with the State EOC, police, fire, EMS, and public works during emergency operations, including during a pandemic. Would the purchase of a portable and base radio with fire department, police and public works frequencies for emergency communications at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) be an eligible expense under LGER?


Q. The local Emergency Operations Center lacks redundancy and does not have internet through Ethernet connections and relies on spotty Wi-Fi from the fire department. This has proven problematic in communication and submitting reports to the State EOC. The town plans on having Internet installed just for the EOC, instead of shared Wi-Fi, to ensure reliable communications. Would this be an eligible expense under LGER?


Q. The community room lacks adequate workspace, wall space for tracking boards, and lacks the ability to secure a computer, radios, and other sensitive or highly pilferable items. The Town plans on overhauling the Emergency Operations Center and making upgrades, including adding a space that separate from the community room. Would this be an eligible expense under LGER?


Q. Are portable radios eligible for reimbursement? Justification summary: Current portables can’t contact other town Fire Departments or Emergency Medical Services without going through dispatch. In a COVID situation with low staffing and resources, portable radios would allow coordination from the field outside of a vehicle, and will allow command staff to communicate other state/county agencies from one device.


Q. A community is looking to install a sludge dryer in their wastewater treatment plant. The cost is just under $400,000 and they are anticipating about a 5-year payback on the equipment. They currently have to haul their sludge away and because of people working from home, etc., they have gone above what they had budged for hauling. They are looking at the sludge dryer because COVID has been found to be transmitted in sewage. They are likely going to start testing their sewage for COVID and the dryer is a COVID related expense since it is being installed to treat the COVID in the sewage as well as reduce hauling fees. Would the sludge dryer expense be eligible? If not the whole expense, could they prorate it over the expected payback period?


*New Q. LGER “Other” eligible expenses: Marketing activities to promote local business use?

 

Technology


Q. Can we apply for reimbursement of costs for setting employees up with home offices under LGER (laptops, printers, scanners, etc.)?


Q. Would audio/video equipment be eligible through the LGER grant?


Q. Can we include online video conferencing platform fees and other IT costs to be able to work from home into LGER?


Q. Although the original purchase of an online video conferencing platform is covered, will the monthly fee from video conferencing also be covered by LGER?


Q. We're doing a significant upgrade to our website because we've been unable to sufficiently update it with COVID-19 info. Can any of these costs be applied to the LGER grant?


Q. What about giving staff a stipend for their internet and electric expenses for working from home?


Q. The Village recreation department has launched a program to offer school day care for kids K-8 until such time as school is back in session completely in person. This includes support staff to help students perform remote learning. It’s being offered free of charge for students in our district. It’s a heavy lift and going to be a large price tag. Does this qualify for reimbursement under LGER? 


Q. We needed to purchase technology (including tablets for Selectboard members) to make virtual meetings work better. We need additional technology to be able to host hybrid meetings where only some participants are virtual. Is that an eligible expense?

 

Payroll


Q. Are payroll costs for working from home on non-COVID-19 duties eligible for FEMA or LGER?


Q. Are regular working hours eligible for FEMA of LGER if some of these hours were dedicated to COVID-19-related work?


Q. What about volunteer firefighters/EMS personal? Is hazard pay for these individuals eligible?


Q. We have a full-time communications person whose salary was in our budget pre-COVID-19 but was 75% redirected to public COVID-19 communications. This person is exempt. Is the labor cost ineligible for reimbursement under LGER?


Q. Can you please clarify overtime rules for FEMA and LGER?


Q. Is there a standard for hazard pay amounts?


Q. Are police departments considered an eligible employer under “units of local government” and therefore would they be eligible for hazard pay reimbursement for their employees?


Q. Can hazard pay be included in FEMA or only LGER?


Q. Is there further information on what type/amount of hazard pay would be covered by LGER?


Q. Can hazard pay be charged to LGER and applied retroactively –that is, the entity did not award hazard pay prior to now, but is wondering if they can award it back to March 1 now?


Q. The Town paid an additional $1.00 per hour for our Rescue employees as well as a stipend for a Rescue employee for a period of time during the pandemic. Would this be eligible for reimbursement through the LGER grant?


Q. Are there resources out there for help in completing the FEMA Force Account Labor Summary and Applicants Benefits Calculation Worksheet?


Q. Is Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid time consisting of emergency sick and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time eligible for reimbursement under LGER? 


Q. Many towns paid their staff their regular salary after they were sent home during the Stay Home Stay Safe order. Would that pay be eligible for reimbursement under LGER?


Q. Does this grant cover unemployment the Sherriff's Department had to pay because of court shutdowns?”


Q. We have been paying some of our EMS employees to distribute the free state-provided masks. These were: Full timers who were on light duty: employees who were out for a medical reason and couldn’t return to full duty, but can work modified duties; and Per diems: paid an hourly rate, on roster to fill shifts to reduce overtime expenses and work special assignments/events if the light duty employee couldn’t make it at the scheduled time. Would the per diem wages be eligible for LGER, but not the light duty wages for the full-timers?”


Q. For hazard pay, what documentation will be necessary?


Q. If we have a staff person who needed to stay doing OT to clean the police station during the pandemic, would his OT be allowable to reimburse?


Q. For hazard pay, for diverted individuals, would their regular time be reimbursable? Think public works street workers being diverted to the water treatment plant during the pandemic.


Q. For whatever hazard pay gets reimbursed, would this money be coming back to reimburse the city, or would we have to direct it to the individuals?


Q. Are dispatchers qualified for hazard pay, those that work in our public safety building?


Q. Of the 19 fire/EMS staff, we had one individual out on medical leave during the first 2.5 months of the pandemic, with the remainder all still working (no one took furlough). Would any time for this individual be qualified for hazard pay?


Q. What amount of payroll detail/documentation is needed? Example – employee wrote “COVID” on hourly timesheet. The town submitted a copy of the timesheet and is requesting reimbursement for those hours noted with “COVID” next to them. Is that enough detail?


*New Q. Assuming hazard pay goes through payroll, does LGER cover the associated municipal retirement match and FICA (federal insurance contributions act – contributions for social security/Medicare) tax?


*New Q. Our town had a trash company bring a truck once a week to our parking lot to provide trash services to people in town due to the Solid Waste District being closed for a period of time at the beginning of the pandemic. The trash company charged per bag to the customer, but the Town had an hourly employee work this which was paid at their overtime rate. Would this employee’s overtime pay be eligible for reimbursement through the LGER grant?

 

Timeline


Q. Does the State anticipate a second grant request from July 1 - October 31?


Q. What is the expected approval date for LGER grant applications?


Q. Is there a time frame on when hazard pay can be occurred? 


Q. How do FEMA and LGER timeframes coordinate? If we must apply to FEMA first, but won't hear in time before the LGER deadline, how best to handle this?

 

Miscellaneous


Q. I work for a nonprofit that is an incorporated municipality (a park district) comprising seven member towns in Chittenden County. Would we alone be eligible for any of these sources (of funding) or would we need to work/partner with an individual member town/city for a project? Would that be OK to do—partner with a town/city?


Q. Would election expenses related to COVID-19 be eligible under the local grant? Are you aware of any other sources of help through the State of Vermont for these expenses?


Q. Can you please define “legal settlement” as excluded under LGER? Does this include grievance settlements with unions? I just want to confirm that "payroll expenses" under Eligible Expenses #3 can include regular time (not overtime or hazard pay) for employees whose duties were reassigned/substantially different during COVID-19 for LGER, even if their regular salaries had been previously budgeted? To clarify the legal settlement question, the union grievance settlement would be related to hazard pay.


Q. Are there other grants available for volunteer and combination fire departments?


Q. Are there grants for community health, food banks, senior services and child care centers?


Q. Are there grants for housing partnerships and park districts?