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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Commissioners Court discusses allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funding

Hays+County+Seal

Hays County Seal

At its June 22 meeting, the Hays County Commissioners Court discussed how funds provided by American Rescue Plan Act would be distributed throughout Hays County.
According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, the American Rescue Plan Act is a federal act that provides relief to state, local and tribal governments. This relief should be used to help with public health response for the pandemic and will support economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Governments can use these funds for different resources such as water, sewer and broadband services.
Hays County will receive $44,711,902 from the American Rescue Plan Act. Commissioner Walt Smith believes funds should be distributed in a way that benefits both the county and the four precincts within the county.
“I believe that setting aside a certain amount of those funds to address true countywide issues is a prudent way to go about it,” Smith says.
Smith adds each commissioner needs to have access to an adequate budget within their own precinct.
“I’ve attempted with this resolution to really try to give each [commissioner] the ability to address needs on both a county-wide basis [and] an individualized basis within each precinct,” Smith says.
However, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra believes separating the money equally across all four precincts is “inappropriate”. Becerra says designating $8.5 million to each precinct would force the precincts to spend their full amount which would be an inadequate use of the funds. Becerra suggests funds from the American Rescue Plan should be distributed in a way that supports all of Hays County.
In an effort of consensus, the court decided unused funds from each precinct will be allocated back to county-wide funds. The court approved distributing $8.5 million to each precinct and $10,711,902 toward county-wide funds.
The commissioners also adopted two proclamations, declaring July 2021 as Parks and Recreation Month in Hays County and recognizing the 25th year of operation of the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
The decision to adopt a resolution for Groundwater Management Area (GMA) 9 regarding joint planning efforts was debated among public commenters and the commissioners. The resolution consists of groundwater conservation efforts throughout nine counties, including Hays, Travis, Bexar and other surrounding counties.
Public commenters asked the commissioners to consider the preservation of water in order to balance the use of groundwater as a public drinking water supply. After public comments, the resolution was approved 4-5, Smith abstained from voting.
The court also approved the Office of Emergency Services to purchase the Pix4D mapper software for unmanned aerial vehicles. This software will be used to enhance disaster relief efforts, such as mapping indicators. Hays County Emergency Services Office Director Mike Jones states this software will allow the county to achieve 3D mapping that will give a better viewpoint in disasters, such as fire investigations or wildfires.
Using Hays County Sheriff’s Office Continuing Education Funds, the commissioners approved out-of-state travel for Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Martin Gonzales to attend the Harley Davidson Motor Company’s Police Technical Training in Orlando from Sept. 13-30. The Constable Pct. 4 Office also accepted a $4,500 donation from Steve Venski, Billy Brandenberger and William Cariker in order to purchase law enforcement equipment and supplies.
The Hays County Commissioners Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. For more information visit its website.

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