EMPLOYING FEDERAL FUNDS TO COMBAT IMPACTS OF COVID-19 IN KANSAS CITY, MO
Washington Business Dynamics (WBD) assists Kansas City with administering pandemic relief to residents and small businesses.
As COVID-19 spread from country-to-country in the spring of 2020, the world struggled to cope with worsening public health conditions and mass hysteria. Citizens of the United States faced great uncertainty as states required businesses to close, and families to take refuge in their homes. For many cities and towns across the country, like Kansas City, Missouri, these COVID-19 mitigation measures resulted in significant revenue loss and slowed economic growth. To counter the pandemic’s negative impacts, the federal government passed impactful legislation including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. By providing funding, the federal government enabled communities, like Kansas City, MO, to begin healing and building back.
Although Kansas City, MO, and other municipalities were pleased to receive funding to support an equitable and broad-based recovery, these entities faced an unprecedented challenge to rapidly obligate, expend, track, and report on the usage of hundreds of millions of dollars of funds to satisfy unclear federal requirements. The city quickly realized that they needed support to appropriately meet the demands of the Treasury Department and develop implementation strategies that maximized the impact of their federal funds. With WBD’s demonstrated experience in financial management, acquisition, and grants management, Kansas City hand-selected WBD experts to strategically optimize the local recovery programming and prioritize compliance, as the city administered aid to help residents and small business owners.
WBD met with the leaders of Kansas City, MO, to assess various areas of need within the community. In conversations with the Finance Department, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), and other entities, WBD helped chart a course to address various needs with thoughtful partnerships and rehabilitation projects. To facilitate these efforts, the firm developed a cadre of tools and processes to enable successful administration and monitoring of funds throughout the municipality and provided budgetary guidance for forth-coming grant opportunities. WBD also provided the city with long-term budget forecasts and strategic advisory related to structuring grant funding to best support the city’s operational planning and disaster recovery strategy. For the Kansas City, MO, WBD delivered:
- Real-Time Financial Decision-making Tool: WBD developed the American Rescue Act Budgeting Tool, which allows city leaders to make complex financial decisions in real-time, while understanding the constraints and budgetary effects of each decision. Policymakers can explore different financial scenarios by selecting strategic funding options in the tool and reviewing the data in summary tables and charts. Additionally, Kansas City County Council members can experiment with the funding allocations by time period to make better decisions about the urgency and timing of funding allocations.
- Integrated Federal Funds Expenditure Tracker: To ensure appropriate utilization of COVID-19 spending for Kansas City, MO, WBD built a comprehensive expenditure tracker. The tracker provides financial clarity by tracking, integrating, and reporting on more than $30 million of expenditures related to COVID-19. It does so by categorizing each expense data point by date, federal funding vehicle, departmental alignment, and activity, then concisely summarizing it in a navigable tracker for city officials.
- Reengineered Grants Management Process: Through revamped internal grant management processes, WBD uncovered an effective combination of federal funding program usage that resulted in additional dollars for the city’s revitalization programs. These funds supported essential workers, provided services to combat homelessness, and promoted positive public health outcomes. Further, WBD has instituted measures to track performance metrics for each of the city’s recovery plan projects. With an emphasis on metric-tracking and community outreach, Kansas City’s American Rescue Plan Act funds have made a positive impact on the metropolitan area and the benefits will continue to be seen in the years to come.
WBD played an integral part in assisting the city of Kansas City, MO, navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Established a comprehensive plan for federal Coronavirus aid policies and procedures
- Ensured the availability of housing and employment opportunities for the local residents
- Supported small business to create a more resilient metropolitan area