Electronic Signatures and Virtual Public Hearings Guidance
In an effort to further encourage social distancing, DCA has modified the requirements for original signatures and in-person public hearings for the FY20 CDBG Annual Competition.
Documents previously requiring original signatures may be signed and scanned with the resulting copy placed in the application. Alternatively, the use of a third-party electronic signature vendor may also be used, such as Adobe Sign or DocuSign, which allow for a signature audit report. Applicants must include the resulting audit report for all documents electronically signed using a third-party vendor in the application. This measure should assist with maintaining social distancing protocols as documents can be mailed or emailed, signed and returned for placement in the application.
Additionally, as it relates to social distancing, communities have the option of conducting a virtual public hearing if any public hearing has been cancelled or postponed due to the public health crisis. The virtual hearing must allow for questions in real time, with answers coming directly from the elected representatives to all attendees. As with an in-person hearing, the local government must select a virtual hearing method or platform that provides for accessibility for persons with disabilities and LEP to participate. All notice requirements as outlined in the FY20 CDBG Applicant’s Manual remain in effect and must be documented.
As we near the revised deadline of May 1st, we have received questions regarding an additional deadline extension. Most of these questions cite the need to obtain original signatures and/or hold public hearings. Our hope is that by allowing electronic signatures and providing HUD’s guidance on virtual public hearings, these barriers have been mitigated. The 30-day extension to May 1, 2020 remains in effect at this time and we are excited to see the applications that have already been received. Feel free to continue submitting any completed applications in advance of the deadline.
We understand these are unprecedented times. Rest assured our office will continue to monitor the situation and adapt as necessary. Should you have any questions or need additional guidance, please contact our office at CDBG.Biz@dca.ga.gov.