RBT CPA’s Ross Trapani, CPA, Admitted to the Partnership

Ross Trapani

Ross Trapani

RBT CPAs LLP, takes great pleasure in announcing that Ross Trapani, CPA, of Lagrangeville, New York, has been admitted to the partnership. Ross will officially become a partner on January 1, 2022. He has been with the Firm since October of 2017. Ross is currently working out of the Dutchess office in the Client Service Department. Ross is the Treasurer for two nonprofits, Rebuilding Together Dutchess County and ARC of Dutchess Foundation. He is also on the Professional Development Programming Committee for the Dutchess Chamber Foundation and co-coaches his daughter’s CYO basketball. Ross grew up in Ulster County and now resides in Lagrangeville in Dutchess County with his wife and two young daughters.

Managing Partner, Michael Turturro adds, “Ross has set a wonderful example of hard work and community involvement within this firm.  He has been a great teacher to other employees and a pleasure to work with. We are so very pleased to welcome Ross to our Partner group. Congratulations! Well deserved!”

RBT CPA’s Keith Dommreis, CPA, Admitted to the Partnership

Keith Dommreis

Keith Dommreis

RBT CPAs LLP, takes great pleasure in announcing that Keith Dommreis CPA, of Poughkeepsie, New York, has been admitted to the partnership. Keith will officially become a partner on January 1, 2022. He has been with the Firm since January of 2020. Keith is currently working out of the Newburgh office in the Tax Department. He has spent the majority of his life here in the Hudson Valley and raised his daughter and son here. He currently resides in Poughkeepsie but travels often to visit his grandchildren.

Managing Partner, Michael Turturro adds, “We are so very pleased to welcome Keith to our Partner group. Keith came to us a few years ago with an abundance of knowledge and experience. Since, he has been a driving force in the firm and our tax department. His contributions are invaluable. Many Congratulations!”

RBT CPA’s Donna Crowley, CPA, Admitted to the Partnership

Donna Crowley

RBT CPAs LLP, takes great pleasure in announcing that Donna  Crowley CPA, of Wallkill, New York, has been admitted to the partnership. Donna will officially become a partner on January 1, 2022. She has been with the Firm since September of 2005. Donna is currently working out of the Newburgh office in the Audit Department. She is an active member of the Wallkill School District Board of Education and the audit committee which enhances her vast financial expertise. Donna resides in the Hamlet of Wallkill and her three active children keep her schedule very busy.

Managing Partner, Michael Turturro adds, “We are so elated to welcome Donna to our Partner group. Donna has been an integral part of our Audit department and an essential player in the continued growth of the firm. I am excited to watch her develop in her new role as a partner. Many congratulations! Your team is so proud of you!.”

How much of the $1.5 Billion School Meal Program Funding will NY See?

How much of the $1.5 Billion School Meal Program Funding will NY See?

To ensure kids are ready to learn and engage, they need regular access to nutritious meals.

Often, this responsibility falls on school districts. Did you know that hunger affects approximately one in six children in New York State? As your district is likely experiencing, the ongoing supply chain disruption brought on by the pandemic has created a multitude of additional obstacles to navigate in the quest for providing consistent, healthy food options for students. Help is on the way thanks to the USDA in the form of federal funding, and your school district may receive financial relief before the end of the month.

School meal programs have always operated on extremely tight budgets, and pandemic school closures and financial losses left many programs on shaky ground. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) 2021 Supply Chain Survey results found over 98% of programs report shortages of menu items, supplies, and packaging, as well as menu items being discontinued by their manufacturers. The additional work replacing and finding new items as well as securing alternative vendors is taking a toll on school nutrition staff, and nearly all respondents (95%) indicated staff shortages. Severe supply chain and staffing challenges add to financial difficulties for school meal programs, with virtually all respondents (97%) reporting higher costs, compared to contracted bids.

At the end of December, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Biden-Harris Administration is providing up to $1.5 billion to states and school districts to help school meal program operators deal with the challenges of supply chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic.

How much will New York State receive?

Below, we break down the numbers and take a deeper dive into how the funding will be distributed. New York State will receive:

  • $88,094,032 total
  • $59,455,807 of the $1 billion in Supply Chain Assistance funds
  • $16,747,064 for USDA foods purchases
  • $11,891,161 for local food for schools cooperative agreement in NY State

With funding made available through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA will provide $1 billion for schools to purchase food for their meal programs through cash payments – known as Supply Chain Assistance funds. In total, the Supply Chain Assistance Funds are expected to provide a boost in resources for up to 100,000 schools across all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including public, tribal, charter schools, and nonprofit private schools.

How can the Supply Chain Assistance funding be used?

Supply Chain Assistance funding can be used by school districts to purchase unprocessed and minimally processed domestic food such as fresh fruit, milk, cheese, frozen vegetables, and ground meat. Each state will allocate the funds to schools based on student enrollment, with a minimum amount per district to ensure that small schools aren’t left behind. To strengthen local food supply chains, states have the option of using up to 10% of the Supply Chain Assistance funds to make bulk purchases of local food and then distributing these foods to schools for use in their meal programs. States also have the option of targeting the funds to areas of highest need by limiting distribution to school districts where a quarter or more of students are from low-income households.

Through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)’s new Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program, USDA will award up to an additional $200 million to states for food assistance purchases of domestic local foods for distribution to schools. This program will strengthen the food system for schools by helping to build a fair, competitive, and resilient local food chain and expanding local and regional markets with an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved producers and processors.

USDA will also purchase about $300 million in 100-percent domestically grown and produced food products, for states to distribute to schools to offset the impact of disruptions to their normal supply chains. States will be able to order these additional foods within the coming weeks, with deliveries to occur as soon as possible.

The School Nutrition Association said the funds will help schools manage higher costs and provide students with more American-grown food. We hope this development comes as welcome financial relief to your school district and helps to alleviate some of the financial and logistical burdens the continued supply chain issues have caused. Questions about the rollout of the funding, or want to set up a personalized conversation about your district’s needs? Feel free to contact our dedicated team of professionals at RBT who specialize in helping government clients. We look forward to providing you with personalized services and answering industry-specific questions.

Sources: USDA, School Nutrition, SNA, Hunger Solutions NY

Understanding Your Role as a Trustee

Understanding Your Role as a Trustee

The trustee is responsible for the safekeeping of a plan’s investments and needless to say – it’s a critically important role. While operating in good faith is a baseline duty expected of all trustees, not all trustees understand what they can be liable for or the true extent of their respective duties.

What can a trustee be liable for?

A trustee can be liable for their mistakes, depending on the terms of the trust. For example, neglecting to file income tax returns, missing opportunities to sell or to take other actions and precautions concerning assets held by the trust, failing to keep proper insurance on real estate, and so on can all result in liability for the trustee for the gross neglect of duties. Trustees must always remain objective concerning the interests of trust beneficiaries and comply with all provisions of the trust document while serving under the heightened standard of care.

Trust accounts are to be given annually to qualified beneficiaries, showing beginning and ending balances and what was received and paid out. Technically, trust accounts should also show book values and some market values. But these formalities are often overlooked in favor of reporting of basic financial activity. Providing tax returns and account statements is often deemed sufficient accounting, but local practice should be consulted.

Trustees typically use service organizations — such as bank trust departments, data processing service bureaus, insurance companies or other benefits administrators — in some capacity to assist in plan administration: They may outsource investment processing, recordkeeping and/or benefit payments, or claims processing as a way to reduce costs or increase efficiencies in administering employee benefit plans. You should be aware that the hiring of a service organization to perform any or all of the duties noted above is a fiduciary function. In addition, as part of your fiduciary responsibilities, you are required to periodically monitor the service organization to ensure it is properly performing the agreed-upon services. In its publication Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities, the DOL points out that one way fiduciaries can demonstrate they have carried out their responsibilities properly is to document the processes used. Remember documentation is your friend! There is truly no such thing as being too organized, keeping too many records, or being too diligent when it comes to documenting financially sensitive or relevant information.

Each employee benefit plan is unique and requires specific monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting. Given the complexity of this responsibility, it’s obvious that a trustee is going to need legal and accounting advice to make suitable decisions, properly document transactions, account for funds coming in and funds going out of the trust, and properly file tax returns. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated team of RBT professionals today.

Source: AICPA