The Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Energy are the first three agencies to begin paying back Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) grants, representatives from each agency confirmed to MeriTalk.
For USDA’s Farmers.gov project, the agency repaid $103,000 of the $4 million distributed in 2019, per an agency spokesperson. The remaining $6 million of the grant is expected to be distributed to USDA in Fiscal Year 2020.
According to a Dec. 12 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on TMF fee paybacks, the agency expects to repay the entire grant with fees by FY2025. USDA officials told GAO that TMF will be repaid “using annual appropriations from each of the two agencies involved in the project.”
HUD repaid $1.03 million to TMF as a part of its UNISYS mainframe migration award in the third quarter of FY2019, per Deputy CIO Kevin Cooke. According to the repayment plan, HUD will be finished repaying the grant with fees in 2025.
“HUD’s ability to repay the TMF is primarily due to strong executive sponsorship of HUD’s TMF project by the Secretary of HUD and by the CIO. HUD has built into the IT Fund budget process, the funding necessary for timely repayment based on the schedule above,” Cooke said about his agency’s ability to repay TMF.
The deputy CIO continued to commend the agency’s close work with the TMF Program Management Office to develop a repayment plan that satisfies both TMF and HUD requirements.
The department will repay TMF with cost savings accrued from the migration, according to the GAO report. Of the $20 million award, $10 million has been transferred to HUD thus far.
Mark Kneidinger, enterprise cloud project sponsor and principal deputy CIO at Energy, confirmed to MeriTalk that the department made its first repayment to TMF in the fourth quarter of FY2019.
“The Enterprise Cloud Email project focuses on migrating existing DOE on-premise email systems to Microsoft’s Office 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC) service. The overall project health is ‘green’ for conclusion in Q4 FY20,” he said.
While the principal deputy CIO did not confirm the amount repaid, GAO reported a repayment of $5,500 as of Aug. 31. Kneidinger said that additional repayments are expected to occur in the third quarters of FY2020, FY2021, and FY2022.
To date, the TMF website states that $2.2 million of the $5.9 million grant has been transferred to Energy. Agency officials told GAO that they plan to repay TMF funds using planned cost savings and avoidances from the email migration.
Separately, TMF paybacks by the General Services Administration and the Department of Labor are expected to begin in FY2020, per GAO.