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How elections affect police grants

Each time we elect a new president or a new state governor, they bring with them new initiatives, priorities and programs

Did you know that grant funding and elections are tied together? Each time we elect a new president or a new state governor, they bring with them new initiatives, priorities and programs. The last annual budget of the outgoing president or governor is in place until the fiscal year ends. The federal fiscal year runs from October 1st to September 30th. The state fiscal year is July 1st through June 30th. In January, after the election, the new president or governor gets sworn into office.

The new president will “live” with the former president’s budget from January 1st until September 30th of the year after being sworn in. The new governor will “live” with the former governor’s budget until July 1st after being sworn in.

Budget Overlap
The overlap of budget allows the federal government to continue operations smoothly until a newly elected president can appoint his cabinet members and all other appointed positions. These newly appointed people then begin to develop a budget for the new initiatives, priorities and programs the newly elected administration brings to the offices. The new budget then goes to Congress for review, discussion and approval…or not.

This same process applies to the newly elected governor for all state governments. The newly elected governor brings to office his own appointed cabinet members and many other appointed positions. They work together to begin to build a new annual budget for presentation to the state Houses for review, discussion and approval...or not.

This brings us to how grants are approved and how they change within newly elected federal and state administrations. Initiatives, priorities and programs can be funded in two ways. They can be included in the annual fiscal budget or they can be administered as a grant program. Basic law enforcement is funded through state and local taxes and some federal tax money. Grant funding is used to address new and upcoming problems such as high-crime areas or providing access to new and ever-changing equipment. This type of funding changes dramatically between former and newly-elected administrations at both the state and federal levels.

Be Prepared
That brings us to the current presidential election and the federal budget. Unlike any other time in history, our country has not had a fully approved annual budget. This means that the sitting president and Congress have only approved three and four month budgets for eight years. This unpredicted process has led us to a point in grant funding where all of the current budgeted grants have been announced. And until a new administration is sworn in in 2017, the current approved for funding grant programs will be in place until September 2017. It is not understood at this point how much funding is currently available to fully fund the grants on the books. We will have to wait and see how that is going to pan out.

If your department has currently approved but not yet contracted or unfinished grants with the federal government, you should review your grants with your grant contact person and your state administering agency to begin the process of learning what the grant programs are doing with the remaining budget in place until September 30th of 2017.

Make sure you are completing all program, evaluation and financial reports and assure they are in order and on time for the remainder of this federal administration. Keeping your records in order can assist you with the end of this administration’s financial responsibility. Proper grant management is critical.

The new federal administration and each state which elects a new governor will be implementing new grant programs with the initiatives, priorities and programs they bring to the table upon swearing in! Have your house in order so you are ready for the transition.