LRCOG News & Updates
Our Mission
"In its dedication to regional excellence, the Lumber River Council of Governments is
proactive in identifying local and regional needs and the resources to address
those needs in an effective and fair manner."
U.S. Census Bureau’s July 1, 2019
Population Estimates Released
Meals Program puts extra measures in place to try to keep vulnerable clients safe from COVID- 19
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Robeson County Congregate Meals Program began a “drive-thru” service at 5 sites this week. This modified service delivery ensures the current participants receive a hot lunch while maintaining social distance. The Area Agency on Aging staff, along with volunteers and dedicated town staff, were on site to assist.

Congregate sites in Bladen, Hoke, Richmond and Scotland counties have also modified their service delivery to adapt to C OVID-19 concerns.

Thank you for remaining committed to making sure food insecure senior citizens have healthy meals during this unprecedented time.
Announcements
COVID-19 Public Assistance Hotline

The NC Division of Emergency Management has stood up a COVID-19 Public Assistance Hotline to help local governments answer questions about FEMA Public Assistance for COVID-19. Applicants (local governments and eligible non-profits) are encouraged to call the number below or send an email to get questions answered.
NCEM PA Hotline Number: (919) 825-2548
NCEM PA Hotline Email: pahotline@ncem.org
 Also linked below is a FEMA fact sheet on eligible emergency protective measures for COVID-19.
 
Please review as it may answer some of your questions.
Water / Wastewater Operations During COVID-19: On Demand Recording of March 23, 2020 Call Now Available

The on demand recording of the Water/Wastewater Operations During COVID-19 call is now available. Additional calls will be held as this is an ever evolving situation. Please consult the following resources:

  • For small water systems (although the resources will generally apply to wastewater and to large water systems as well), by the EFC and the EFC Network
  • Coates Canons for the latest blogs on utilities and other COVID-19-related issues.
  • SOG’s COVID-19 webpage for links to other resources.
Feel free to continue to send questions to Kara Millonzi at millonzi@sog.unc.edu and Shadi Eskaf at eskaf@sog.unc.edu .
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Intergovernmental Affairs

Please see the advisory below from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding an update on the whole of government response to COVID-19.
NC Emergency Management Instructions: How To Apply For NC’s Essential Industry List
NC Emergency Management has a process to vet businesses (TO DETERMINE IF THEY ARE ESSENTIAL BUSINESS SUPPLIERS )and allow them the ability to (CONTINUE OPERATIONS ) IF an emergency (IS DECLARED) or (A) shelter in place (ORDER IS ISSUED) should their usual operations warrant such.

Businesses should email beoc@ncdps.gov . In the email, they should provide the following:

1. Business name
2. Point of Contact including:
              -name
              -email
              -phone number
              -address
3. Nature of their business and why they are critical to continue operations
4. Business website 

Please be aware that the BEOC (Business Emergency Operations Center) is experiencing a high volume of these requests, so the response could be delayed.
NATIONAL CALL ON FEDERAL COVID-19 RESPONSE EFFORTS

The National Association of Counties (NACo) held a conference call for an update on counties' federal policy priorities regarding COVID-19.  
The New Deadline for REAL ID Enforcement is October 1, 2021
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Websites
Get the latest information on COVID-19 in North Carolina
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
LOCAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCES
Resources
NC  2-1-1
Get up to date information on COVID-19

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Accessible via an easy-to-remember, three-digit number, families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services and resources within their community.
Text COVIDNC to 898-211 for announcements and updates
Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week
Protecting Public Records While You Telework

Since many state, university, community college, and local government employees have already transitioned to teleworking or are in the process of doing so for the foreseeable future, we’d like to present some basic tips for how to manage public records when you work from home.
FEMA Public Assistance Program Reimbursement Process
Norma R. Houston, UNC School of Government
NCEM has provided helpful information on the FEMA Public Assistance Program reimbursement process for COVID-19 emergency protective measures eligible expenses. Please see the attached guidance documents which are also available on the SOG’s COVID-19 resource site at the Emergency Management page. Please note the important information below and the steps you must take to initiate the process for requesting FEMA reimbursement:
  1. Registering in FEMA Grants Portal - All eligible applicants (meaning public entities and eligible nonprofits) must register in the FEMA grants portal. If your jurisdiction is already registered in the FEMA Grants Portal, you do not need to register again, but you should check your organization’s profile to make sure all profile information, such as organization identification numbers, PNP documentation, personnel contact information and roles, is up to date.
  2. Submitting a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) - To apply for Public Assistance, all eligible applicants (meaning public entities and eligible nonprofits) must submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA). You should submit your RPA online through the FEMA grants portal. Please see the attached presentation slides for instructions on submitting your RPA. 
  3. Deadline for Submitting a RPA - FEMA has waived the 30-day deadline for submitting RPAs. The RPA application period is nationally extended and will remain open for the duration of the Public Health Emergency, as declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, unless an earlier deadline is deemed appropriate by the Assistant Administrator, Recovery Directorate. FEMA will accept RPAs for 30 days after the end of the declaration of the Public Health Emergency and provide 30-day advance notification if an earlier deadline is established or further extended by a Regional Administrator. Despite this flexibility, I encourage you to go ahead and register in the FEMA grants portal (if your jurisdiction is not already registered) and submit your RPA.

Many of you have questions about what expenses will be eligible and how to document those expenses. Here’s what we advise as of now: 
  • Expense eligibility: More guidance will be coming on expense eligibility. For now, it is important that you register in the FEMA Grants Portal and submit your RPA in the grants portal. And, document all expenses related to your entities COVID-19 response.

  • Expense documentation: More guidance will be coming on expense documentation. For now, if you are familiar with the FEMA reimbursement process, document your expenses as you would in any other presidentially declared event. If you are not familiar with the FEMA reimbursement process, create a method of your own (separate coding in your finance software, excel spreadsheet, etc.) to record basic information such as the nature of the expense (purchasing equipment or supplies, staff overtime, etc.), expense amount, date, and importantly, how the expense was related to responding to COVID-19. Above all, document, document, document.

For questions and further assistance, please contact the NCEM PA Hotline at pahotline@ncem.org or 919-825-2548.

COVID-19 Internet Service Offerings
The State Broadband office has put together information for communities on broadband options during this time. 
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)- CDC
COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
NC League of Municipalities

In the midst of this rapidly evolving, unprecedented global health crisis, the League is doing all it can to monitor the situation and update our cities and towns. 
Each day, the questions surrounding this situation grow. We know this will only continue, and as unique circumstances arise, we encourage you to reach out to the League for guidance. Email us at covid19@nclm.org
For our common and shared problems, we've compiled a list of the questions we've been asked most frequently. They are listed below, and can also be found on our coronavirus webpage
COVID-19 Fraud and Scams
Be aware that criminals are attempting to exploit COVID-19 worldwide through a variety of scams. There have been reports of:
  • Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud.
  • Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Malicious websites and apps that appear to share virus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
  • Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.
Funding Opportunities
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

The SBA has approved the North Carolina Governor’s request for a disaster declaration, and you may begin the application process. Eligible applicants may now apply for economic injury disaster loans (EIDLs) as a result of the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.
North Carolina Business Relief Resources – COVID-19 provided by The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC)
Golden LEAF deploys $15 million in funding to launch NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program
Funding will provide loans to help small businesses suffering economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Golden LEAF Foundation announces $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.
Suggested Reads
NACo Analysis of the Third COVID-19 Supplemental: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
The analysis that follows highlights relevant components of the CARES Act for county governments, including a section-by-section breakdown outlining items of significance for county policy priorities.
Local Government Finance Office Management and Internal Controls During COVID-19
 Authored by: Kara Millonzi
When a local government is functioning normally, there are a number of statutory and regulatory duties that it’s finance office must carry out. Further, there are numerous internal control processes and practices that local finance professionals follow in order to safeguard the financial assets of the unit. We are now in a pandemic. Many local governments are going to have to make adjustments to these processes and practices to continue to carry out essential duties, with a remote and potentially depleted workforce, while still implementing some controls to protect their assets. This post addresses pertinent considerations for local finance officers as they implement these changes. The post will be updated as units share their strategies.
Visit Coates' Canons: NC Local Government Law 's blog for additional articles on interesting topics such as:
Remote Participation in Meetings and Hearings
Cities, States Halt Evictions During Coronavirus Pandemic
Why water systems should not be enforcing water disconnections during the COVID-19 outbreak
Please contact the LRCOG Community and Economic Services Division
with any questions.
CONTACT US

Lumber River Council of Governments | Phone: 910-618-5533 | Fax: 910-521-7556