The cities of George West and Three Rivers, Live Oak and McMullen counties and local school districts are expected to receive a significant infusion of federal assistance to help with COVID-19 recovery efforts via the American Rescue Plan.
At the county level, Live Oak County is on schedule to receive $2,367,472 while McMullen County will get $273,000.
The city of George West is on schedule to receive $558,616 in federal emergency funds, while Three Rivers is set to get $429,957.
The funds are expected to generate about $2 million for the George West Independent School District, more than $1 million for Three Rivers ISD and at least $200,000 for McMullen County ISD.
These funds will help communities and districts that were hard hit economically because of the 2020 pandemic.
“What I plan to go for right off the bat is the sales tax revenue we lost,” interim George West City Manager Shirley Holm told the George West City Council. “This will help to offset the negative economic impacts we experienced because of COVID-19. We’ll have to produce all the records to get the funds.”
Three Rivers City Administrator Thomas Salazar said offsetting lost tax revenue is also what he recommends.
“I think we should focus on (recovering) funds that were lost due to the loss of sales tax revenue,” Salazar told the Three Rivers City Council during a meeting April 8.
Local leaders anticipate receiving a portion of the federal funds by May 11, and the funds will expire on Dec. 31, 2024 if they have not been used
Salazar said half of the federal funds should be received in May, with the second half set to arrive in May 2022.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar traveled to McMullen County to announce the funds there, and met with county and school district leaders.
A letter from U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, who represents Live Oak County, noted that the American Rescue Plan of 2021, which was approved in March, earmarked $19.53 billion for communities with less than 50,000 residents.
According to the letter from Gonzalez, eligible uses include:
• Responding to the pandemic or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality
• Premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work (as determined by each recipient government) during the pandemic, providing up to $13 per hour above regular wages
• For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the pandemic (relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency)
• To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure;
• Transferring your allocation to a private nonprofit organization, Tribal organization, public benefit corporation involved in the transportation of passengers or cargo, or special-purpose unit of state or local government.