Will the governor announce new guidelines soon related to
opening the economy?
Yes. The governor has confirmed that he will hold a press
conference tomorrow (April 17). He has not yet shared any details about his
plan, other than to say that, “This is not going to be a ‘rush the gates,
everybody is able to suddenly reopen all at once…We have to understand that we
must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the
very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19.” He went
on to say that, “We’re going to be introducing Texas to this comprehensive team
that we have put together, that will very comprehensively, carefully,
strategically evaluate what must be done for Texas to open back up,” he
explained Monday, “ensuring that what we’re doing is consistent with data with
medical analysis, as well as strategies about which type of businesses will be
able to open up.”
President Trump is conducting a press conference as this update
goes out on his plan to “open up America.” The League will report on both
as details become available.
Has the governor’s office made some stimulus money available to
Yes. As we reported yesterday (April 15), he has made
available $38 million from a component of the CARES Act. It consists of
funds allocated by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice
Another $24 million is allocated directly by the federal
government to certain cities. The direct allocation is for cities that are
eligible for a direct award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of
Justice Assistance (BJA), and those cities should first seek funds directly
through BJA. The list of local allocations for direct BJA awards to Texas
jurisdictions can be found here, and the federal solicitation is available here. Applications are due to BJA by May 29, 2020.
The remaining $42 million (of which the governor has made the
$38 million available to local governments) appears to be available for all
cities on a competitive basis. Cities should apply for those funds using
the eGrants grant management website. The governor’s office has
prepared detailed information on the program. To access that information,
go to this website and click on the announcement for the “Coronavirus
Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program.”
What can I do as a mayor (or any other city official) if I
missed the deadline to sign on to the letter to the Texas congressional
delegation asking for additional direct funding for cities?
If you did not have a chance to submit your name to be included
in the letter to the Texas congressional delegation supporting the
House version of the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, we urge you to visit
with your congressional office to offer your support for direct funding to all
Texas cities. More cosponsors are being added every day. In addition, the
Coronavirus Community Relief Act will be introduced shortly in the Senate.
The previously passed CARES Act allows its funds to be used for
"necessary expenditures." The Coronavirus Community Relief Act bill
changes expenditures to “costs,” and would allow for costs to include – but not
be limited to – lost revenue:
“(d) USE OF FUNDS.- A unit of local government shall use the
funds provided under a payment made under this section to cover only those
costs of the unit of local government that-
(1) are costs that-
(A) are reasonably deemed by the unit of local government to be
(B) directly or indirectly involve, relate to, are, have been,
or will be incurred due to, or are, have been, or will be a response to
circumstances caused by, the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus
Disease 2019 (COVID–19); and
(2) were incurred during the period that begins on March 1,
2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.
(1) COSTS.-The term 'Costs' includes but is not limited to lost
revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and increases in costs
reasonably believed to be the direct or indirect result of, or direct or
indirect responses to circumstances caused by, the public health emergency with
respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).”
The bill also provides flexibility for governments with a
population of less than 500,000 to reallocate the money:
“To the extent that a unit of local government does not need all
of the funds paid to it, it may transfer such funds to another unit of local
government in the State for uses in paragraph (1) of this subsection and such
transfer is deemed to be a cost of the transferor.”
If you are unsure who represents you in Washington, D.C., or
need additional guidance, please contact Monty Wynn with TML’s legislative
department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did the CARES Act provide additional funds for rural broadband
Yes, but they are limited to those cities that had previously
applied. The United States Department of Agriculture has released guidance for the distribution of an additional
$100 million for the ReConnect rural broadband program. However, the money will
be directed to applicants that submitted 100 percent grant applications that
were not successful during the first ReConnect funding round.
If applicants already resubmitted their application for the second
round of funding, they will be eligible for priority consideration.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.