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Sep 22

September 22, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #125

Posted on September 22, 2020 at 3:23 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


What is NLC reporting on the U.S. Treasury Department CRF guidance related to public safety expenditures?


The National League of Cities (NLC) sent the following update today:


“Earlier this month, the Treasury Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) attempted to backtrack on reasonable reporting requirements for state and local governments using Coronavirus Relief Funds under the CARES Act.  


The OIG guidance would have overruled a prior presumption that all payroll costs for public health and public safety employees would be treated by federal regulators as payments for services to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, as required by the CARES Act. 


The OIG guidance would have imposed burdensome new reporting requirements after cities had already relied on the presumption to support budgeting, payroll, and employment decisions. More consequentially, the change would have made it more likely that the OIG could attempt to claw back expended CRF funds, possibly years later, similar to FEMA funds.


NLC quickly brought together a coalition to convince Treasury to reverse course on new reporting requirements, which they did this week in an updated guidance published yesterday that dropped the new burdensome reporting requirements and reinforced the original presumption guidance. (Editor’s note: The guidance is not yet posted on the Treasury Department’s CRF webpage.) 


The updates requested by NLC are found in FAQs 63 and 70-72, which are related to the recordkeeping requirements for public health and public safety employees significantly dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”


Further Updates


What action did the Texas Supreme Court recently take with regard to evictions?


Last Thursday (September 17), the Texas Supreme Court issued an administrative order clarifying certain aspects of the federal nationwide eviction moratorium.


As reported on September 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Effective September 4, 2020, through December 31, 2020, the CDC order provides “rent deferral” for qualifying individuals. As reported by The Texas Tribune, the federal moratorium left several unanswered questions.


The Texas Supreme Court’s administrative order addresses three primary issues relating to the federal moratorium. The order:


-requires that, in an action for eviction to recover possession of residential property under Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code and Rule 510 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition and citation include certain information to ensure that tenants are notified about the federal eviction moratorium;

-includes certain information to ensure that tenants are notified about the federal eviction moratorium;

-clarifies that the federal moratorium could prevent an eviction where the eviction has been granted, but the order to have the constable remove a person (the writ of possession) has not yet been issued; and

-provides a procedure for landlords to contest a tenant’s declaration that he or she is qualified for rent deferral under the federal moratorium.


What is TxDOT doing to help cities with transportation projects during the pandemic?


The Texas Department of Transportation is providing favorable Texas State infrastructure Bank terms for certain new and existing projects and loans. The agency provided the following:


“The Texas State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) is a low-cost revolving loan program within TxDOT that offers financial assistance in the form of at or below market rate loans to public or private entities authorized to construct, maintain or finance an eligible public highway project.


Eligible projects must be eligible for assistance under existing federal highway rules (Title 23, United States Code), environmentally cleared, consistent with the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and consistent with the transportation plan developed by the local metropolitan planning organization (MPO).


To assist local governments in navigating this difficult time, the Texas SIB will be waiving interest during the first 3 years of approved SIB loans for current applicants and new applications received from now until the end of the year (December 31, 2020). Some examples where this may be beneficial to your community include:


-Outstanding or upcoming funding contribution(s) to a TxDOT project.

-Outstanding or upcoming costs for right-of-way (ROW) acquisitions and/or utility relocation for a TxDOT project.

-Funding eligible, local project letting within the next 12 months.


The TxDOT State Infrastructure Bank Webinar will take place as follows:


Date: September 29, 2020

Time: 11:00 am

Registration: Register Here

Purpose: To learn more about the SIB program and TxDOT’s SIB-related COVID-19 efforts to assist local governments in this challenging time.”


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.