Four to Go: Application Rounds Continue for $110 Million in Federal Ga Case Backlog Reduction Grants.

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Review of applications for Georgia Court Circuits for COVID-19 relief funds was launched on Wednesday, now that the first of five federal funding rounds has come to an end.

At Tuesday’s initial round deadline, the Georgia Judicial Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on US Bailout Act Funding received “at least two” to agree apps seeking a portion of the $110 million allocated to deal with the state’s backlog of cases, according to Georgia Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathleen Joyner on Tuesday.

But Joyner said the limited turnout, so far, came as no surprise to committee members.

“Complete and complete”

Kathleen Joyner, public information officer at the Georgia Supreme Court. (Photo: Rebecca Breyer for ALM)

The first round of grant applications had been exclusive to judicial circuits and appellate courts, but Joyner noted on Tuesday that the ARPA committee did not expect to receive many applications before the first grant deadline due to data and collaboration. necessary by the courts to submit a “detailed and complete request”.

“It’s not unusual, especially in a brand new program with a tight schedule, that we have no applications or a lot of applications before the deadline,” Joyner said.

On Wednesday, Joyner declined to identify undergraduate judicial applicants or confirm the final number of grant applications that had been submitted by judicial circuits and appellate courts by the 11:59 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

“The committee will provide this information after it has had an opportunity to review all nominations and determine awards,” Joyner said via email Wednesday.

“No progress”

The ARPA Grants team in the Court’s Administrative Office, which reviews applications to ensure they are complete before forwarding them to the ARPA Ad Hoc Committee for review, facilitates the grant application processes, attribution, compliance, reimbursement and reporting. Team members will meet to decide on the awards on December 20 and announce the winners of the first round of grants by letter the following day.

But those who receive grants should not expect to see an upfront payment when funds from the first round of grants become available on January 1.

Courts Administration Office, Judicial Council of Georgia, Atlanta.

“ARPA grant recipients will be reimbursed monthly as eligible costs are incurred and reported to the AOC,” a Georgia Judicial Council said. report. “No advances or retroactive payments are currently authorized by the executive branch.”

Because the Courts Administrative Office is required to report monthly on the use of ARPA funds allocated to the Judicial Council of Georgia to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, recipients of judicial grants must submit monthly expense reports. and supporting documentation to the ARPA Grants team to initiate reimbursement for eligible expenses.

Reimbursement submissions will begin Feb. 1, with federal dollars to fund the hiring of more court workers and the creation of temporary offices and courtrooms as a way to deal with backlogs of court cases across the country. ‘State.

With four grant cycle application periods remaining, all in 2022, the committee overseeing the application process has planned for increased participation by the impending deadlines of January 15, April 15, August 15, and April 15. November.

Beginning January 1, the second grant application cycle will last two weeks. Prizes for the second round will then be decided on February 3.

Exclusions

Of the $110 million allocated by Governor Brian Kemp from the state’s $4.8 billion ARPA fund allocation, $96 million in grants will be awarded to authorized trial courts, courts of appeal, prosecutors and related agencies. The remaining $14 million of ARPA funds were earmarked for public defenders, with administration of the federal grant handled by the Georgia Public Defender Council.

Municipal courts, however, were excluded from using federal grant money in this process. Instead, they are encouraged to seek ARPA funds in their respective cities before contacting the Georgia Judicial Council’s ARPA committee.

Certain uses of the funds are also excluded.

Although the federal grant money was allocated “to address the backlog of court cases, prioritizing cases involving serious violent crimes,” the funds cannot currently be used to implement court improvements. long-term or permanent infrastructure that would help facilitate this goal, including adding or upgrading broadband connectivity. . At this time, ARPA court grants also cannot be used for COVID safety items, including COVID-19 testing, the purchase of personal protective equipment, or expenses like plexiglass. with the aim of preventing exposures to COVID-19 in places of assembly. Instead, these desired purchases should be directed to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, according to to the Judicial Council of Georgia.

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