The state auditor says there’s a new tool to help Iowa counties determine how much federal assistance they can use to cover pandemic-related losses in tax revenue. State Auditor Rob Sand says the National Association of Counties online calculator takes a lot of “guess work” out of a complicated process.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure folks across the state of Iowa are aware of that,” Sand says, “because that’s going to make their work more efficient in trying to figure out how to spend American Rescue Plan dollars.”

Sand’s office has fielded questions from local officials asking for help in calculating tax revenue losses that can be linked to the pandemic.

“They can head to the calculator and essentially answer a couple of questions and it will spit a number back out to you that is your allotment for lost revenue,” Sand says.

Counties, as well as cities and states, must use American Revenue Plan money by 2026. Funds may be used on infrastructure projects as well. Sand says the sooner local governments come up with budgets for the pandemic relief, the sooner they can line up contractors to get the projects done on time.