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COVID-19 relief funds resulted in increased federal funding, spending for Cheyenne

Stephanie Pickering, auditor from the Cheyenne based accounting firm McGee, Hearne and Paiz, speaks to councilmembers during their Jan. 6 Work Session / Youtube Screenshot

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Thanks to COVID-19 relief funds, the City of Cheyenne was able to receive and spend significantly more federal money in 2022 than it did in previous years.

During this afternoon’s work session with City Council members, an independent auditor presented the city’s 2022 financial and compliance audit report, which found that an influx of federal pandemic recovery grants raised funding acquisitions and expenditures by more than 40%.

Prior to the report, City Treasurer Robin Lockman reminded councilmembers that audits on the city’s financial statement are required annually by the state, and entities that spend more than $150,000 in federal grant funds are also reviewed.

On the topic of grants, she announced that vigorous city staff efforts resulted in the city receiving 42% more federal funding than it did in the 2021 fiscal year.

“That’s a huge increase,” Lockman said. “In 2021 the city received $8.1 million and in 2022 we received $11.7 million.”

During the presentation, auditor Stephanie Pickering from the Cheyenne-based accounting firm McGee, Hearne and Paiz, added that expenditures in 2022 totaled $13.9 million, a 66% increase from 2021.

“A lot of that increase is coming out of fiscal recovery funds from the pandemic,” Pickering said.

Of the six federal funds audited in 2022 to ensure the city was appropriately using the money, the city used two large grants from Shuttered Venue Operators and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Program to help Cheyenne’s economy get back on its feet.

Council work sessions are typically held on Fridays at noon.

The full video can be viewed below: