Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) made a stop at the Jourdanton Community Center on Wednesday, March 24 to announce that Atascosa County had been allotted $32 million in federal funds made available through the American Rescue Plan to help with losses due to the pandemic.
To say that local leaders were thrilled to receive these funds is an understatement. But there was one stipulation that left some local leaders puzzled. For 69 Texas cities with populations of more than 50K, the monies they were allocated will go directly from the U.S. Treasury into their banks to use as stipulated. For 1,376 Texas cities with populations below 50K, the money will be deposited into the Texas State Treasury and cities and ISDs will be required to suballocate.
Suballocate means that the Atascosa County entities will have to borrow against their allotted funds then ask for reimbursement from the state of Texas. Mayor Willie Leal at Wednesday’s meeting asked Congressman Cuellar, “Why this suballocation? Does the government not think small towns in Texas are trustworthy?” As a business owner, I certainly would not be at ease borrowing against the massive amounts below and then play the waiting game to see if I was approved for reimbursement by the state. I can imagine also the additional administrative nightmares, the jumping through hoops to get correct forms and information filled out, the red tape and the hold your breath for a refund involved in suballocation. But if those are the rules, then I know our cities and ISDs in Atascosa County have what it takes to get all their funds but what about other small cities with less resources? Why make things harder after an already impossible year? The good news is that the state of Texas will have incentive to pay out funds as required or face penalties. As part of the American Relief Act, there are safeguards and penalties in place to discourage state interference or additional state mandates on the use of these funds.
The total allocations from the American Rescue Plan for Atascosa County are $32,588,000 which breakdown locally as follows:
• Atascosa County Allocation Projection: $9,920,000
• City of Charlotte Allocation Projection: $410,000
• Christine Town Allocation Projection: $90,000
• City of Jourdanton Allocation Projection: $960,000
• City of Lytle Allocation Projection: $670,000
• City of Pleasanton Allocation Projection: $2,370,000
• City of Poteet Allocation Projection: $760,000
• Charlotte Independent School District Allocation Projection: $1,493,000
• Jourdanton Independent School District Allocation Projection: $1,872,000
• Lytle Independent School District Allocation Projection: $2,980,000
• Pleasanton Independent School District Allocation Projection: $7,533,000
• Poteet Independent School District Allocation Projection: $3,530,000
Want to know how your county, city and local ISD will be using their funds? Get active in this community. Attend your local Atascosa County Commissioners Court, City Council and ISD board meetings. The Pleasanton Express weekly prints the meeting schedules. You can find the meeting schedule on our website by searching meetings and we regularly share the graphic listing all the meetings on social media.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.