The state auditor’s office has already launched a plan on how to audit the $1.25 billion in federal funds sent to Mississippi.
State auditors have already created a new website so citizens can see how and where the federal funds are spent.
Auditors have divided the stimulus funds into four areas: Education; money spent by the Mississippi Development Authority and Department of Employment Security; money for emergency supplies and healthcare and broadband spending. Three private accounting firms will audit three of the areas, while the auditor’s office will handle one of them.
“This stimulus represents one of the three biggest challenges to the Auditor’s office in the last thirty years (Katrina and auditing the 2009 stimulus money are the other two),” said White in a news release. “What makes this challenge uniquely difficult is that Congress demanded the money be spent so quickly. Every cost has to be incurred no later than December 30.
“But the staff at the Office of the State Auditor have achieved great results over the last year, and we stand ready to meet this challenge, too.”
MDA has received the biggest chunk of funds (more than $379 million), since it administers the small business relief program. The state Department of Finance and Administration received $300 million, the MDES more than $236 million, the state Department of Education $200 million and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency received $110 million.
The auditor’s office will also be watching the Education Stabilization Fund, which provides relief grants for school districts and is separate from the $1.25 billion that the Legislature appropriated earlier this year. Those funds originated from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March by Congress.
The Jackson Public School District received the state’s biggest grant out of the Education Stabilization Fund with $12.26 million. Madison County schools will receive $1.1 million, while Clinton (more than $766,000), Hinds County (more than $1 million), Pearl (more than $764,000) and Rankin County schools ($1.95 million) also were allocated relief funds.