Are there ongoing efforts to ease state-issued restrictions on
the use of federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) revenue by cities in
counties under 500,000 population?
Yes. The City of Waco drafted a letter asking the governor to consider
eliminating the so-called “75 percent limitation” on the use of CRF funds for
cities located in counties under 500,000 population.
As background, the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s
(TDEM) CRF Terms and Conditions document contains the following
statement regarding the use of grant money allocated from TDEM to cities:
“The subrecipient agrees that a minimum of 75% of its allotment
will be spent in the categories of medical expenses, public health expenses
and payroll expenses for employees substantially dedicated to mitigating or
responding to the public emergency. The remainder of the allotment may be
spent in any of the categories provided within the Treasury guidance.”
The other general categories of expenses for which only 25%
percent of a city’s allotment can be spent are: (1) expenses of actions to
facilitate compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures; (2)
expenses associated with the provision of economic support in connection with
the COVID-19 public health emergency; and (3) any other COVID-19-related
expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government that satisfy the
Fund’s eligibility criteria.
The League sent a letter to Governor Abbott last month asking him to
eliminate the 75 percent limitation in order to free up federal dollars for
use on economic support for local businesses, among other things. No action
has yet been taken on the spending limitations, which prompted Waco to take
the lead on this new request.
Mayors interested in signing on to Waco’s letter are
encouraged to email their name, city, and electronic signature to Ashley
Nystrom with the City of Waco at AshleyN@wacotx.gov by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 13.
Has the governor taken recent action to expand hospital
capacity to deal with COVID-19 patients?
Yes. Today (7/9), Governor Abbott issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries in
over 100 counties in order to increase hospital capacity for COVID-19
patients. Prior to the proclamation, elective surgeries were banned only in
Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo, Nueces, Travis, and Webb counties. A
full list of the counties added to the list can be found in the proclamation
text, linked above.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.