In the past, utilizing the District cost-share programs was a quick, easy process since work could begin as soon as the District Board approved the application. When using funds provided from federal agencies it is necessary to address environmental compliance issues. The District is required to comply with Section 106 when implementing projects with BPA funds since they are a federal agency. What does this mean for landowners? The District will need to have a cultural resource survey completed for projects that cause surface ground disturbance. There will be no cost to the landowner for this service, however it will mean that work cannot begin until the survey has been completed and approved.
The District supervisors and staff are working to limit the delay and complications that this will cause. We are asking landowners to work with us and plan projects so we can reduce the impact this will have on project implementation. Your cooperation is appreciated! If you are considering utilizing the District cost-share program for a conservation project please contact the District as soon as possible. Our goal is to work with landowners as soon as possible so we can get through project requirements and start construction without delay.
Recently there have been some concerns regarding the Asotin County Conservation District’s cost-share reimbursement process. The following information is provided to help answer any questions you may have and to let you know that we are always available to discuss this with you.
If you are interested in implementing a conservation practice, come to the District office to apply for cost-share. Staff will assist you in filling out an application. If you do not own the property (i.e. lessee) where the practice will be implemented the property owner will also have to sign the application. There are additional forms that may need to be signed by the cooperator regarding District cost-share policies and procedures. A technician will assist you in developing the plans for your project, which may require one or more site visits. Once the plan is prepared, the application will be presented for approval at the next regularly scheduled board meeting. You will receive a letter following the board meeting notifying you that the project has been approved and that funds have been allocated for the project. There may be requirements that must be completed before work can begin which will be indicated in the approval letter. Once all the requirements have been met, the District will issue an “authorization to proceed” letter and work can begin.
When a project is completed, or a stand-alone component of the project is completed, bring your verification of expenses (receipts, invoices, etc.) to the office. Expenses must include actual completion date, cost of materials, cost of equipment, cost of labor and signatures. You will need to sign your cost-share application or a partial payment form verifying project completion.
District staff will review your receipts to make sure they are complete and all the required financial information is provided. At this time, the project will need to be certified by a technician. We are not able to voucher (request payment from the funding source) for reimbursement until the implementation has been checked and the application has an ACCD or NRCS Technician signature verifying that the project has been completed to NRCS specifications. The technician also takes measurements needed to process the expenses and determine the amount of cost-share that you will receive.
During the first week of each month the vouchers for the grants are prepared and mailed to the funding source. The funding source will provide payment of the voucher, which could take as little as 15 days or as long as 90 days, but typically within 30 days. We have no control over how long it takes once the voucher is sent to the funding source. The District receives a payment from the funding source if everything meets their requirements. As soon as the District receives the funds, a check will be issued for the cost-share reimbursement and mailed to you.
Cooperators have the opportunity to assign their cost-share payment to a third party (i.e. contractor) as long as both parties agree to the assignment in writing before expenses are submitted to the District. The District will provide the form both parties are required to sign.
We understand the frustration many of our cooperators have experienced regarding the length of time it has taken to get their reimbursement check. District staff is committed to getting you your money as quickly as possible and have therefore implemented steps to ensure timely reimbursements. Because we are limited to the number of times we can voucher to our funding sources, cost-share is typically processed once per month during the first week of the month. There are a lot of things that have to be in place before cost-share payments are made. To ensure the District has enough time to complete all the steps required prior to vouchering, please submit bills and expenses by the 20th of each month. For example, bills and expenses need to be submitted by October 20th to be included in the voucher sent the first week in November. We cannot guarantee your project cost-share can be included in a voucher if it is received after the 20th.
It should be noted that cost-share is a reimbursement of expenses and cooperators are responsible for payments to contractors unless an assignment of payment has been completed.
District staff and supervisors are not able to release cooperator information, including payment information, to anyone unless authorized in writing by the cooperator. If an assignment has been made to another party, that party may receive information regarding the assigned payment only.
If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please contact the District Staff. Thank you!