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WILLIAMSON — West Virginia State Auditor John B. McCuskey visited the Mingo County Commission on Wednesday to talk about what his office is doing to help municipalities in spending their federal relief funds.

McCuskey’s staff have built a program to assist cities and counties with required reporting when using the federal funds.

“The idea is that by building a singular system that all 55 counties and all the cities are pushing their projects through, it’ll give our office the ability to be more helpful with federal reporting and to help them to decide which things are actually eligible,” McCuskey said.

McCuskey said the reporting tools from his office have also allowed for a portal to be created where funds can easily be tracked by anyone to see what these monies are being spent on.

“It also gives us the opportunity to create a transparency portal so the citizens of all these cities and towns can see what the money’s being spent on and make sure that it’s matching the priority list that they have,” McCuskey said.

McCuskey said when asked for advice, his office is heavily encouraging municipalities expel these funds on water and sewer projects.

“The easiest pull here is to just work on water and sewer infrastructure,” McCuskey said. “It’s a known need. It’s pretty obvious in the guidance that you can spend money on this and it’s an easy way to spend the money in the time frame that we have been given.”

McCuskey said he has went before multiple counties and cities to offer assistance and to answer any questions they have about the federal relief dollars.

“We were really thankful to come down and be with the commission here in Mingo County,” McCuskey said. “I believe it’s our 30th county commission meeting on this specific topic. Our local officials have really stepped up. I think they all have sort of, they understand the importance of spending this money in a way that will change people’s lives for the better.”

The Mingo County Commission said it plans to use the majority of its funds to fill a budget shortfall due to lost revenue caused by the pandemic.

The usage of funds is updated as often as possible, and can be tracked at wvcheckbook.gov.

HD Media reporter Nancy Peyton primarily covers news in Lincoln County.

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