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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 provides COVID-19 rental assistance program updates

Hays+County+Historic+Court+House.

Hays County Historic Court House.

The Hays County Commissioners Court decided to move forward with establishing guidelines for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program at its June 15 meeting.
The program is a result of $6.9 million in funding the U.S. Treasury Department provided to aid Hays County citizens struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Citizens may apply to receive financial assistance with rent and utility expenses for up to three months when applications open. The time period of when applications will open has yet to be announced.
On a first-come, first-serve basis, those who make below 50% of the county’s median income will be prioritized with the funding, and special concern will be given to those facing immediate eviction. Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra says he is hopeful the program will roll out quickly.
“It’s a perfect dovetail to clean up and close down the heartache that we as a community have felt over this ravaging pandemic, overall,” Becerra says.
The program’s guidelines also discuss creating four temporary positions in addition to the current positions already in place, including a program manager and a treasury associate. Caseworkers will be hired, as well, to help with outreach and program management.
The court also discussed funding for projects aiming to improve flood safety and land conservation, such as those discussed in Proposition A of the October 2020 election. The commissioners recognized these projects would be a lengthy process to complete, but estimate funding will total between $30-50 million.
Additionally, a “No Parking” zone will be established in front of the park gate and driveway on Edgewater Drive along the Blanco River and Sunrise Drive in the Sunrise Acres subdivision, located in the western ROW north of Sunrise Circle. Law enforcement will issue warnings and tickets to unauthorized vehicles in the area if necessary.
The commissioners also adopted rules and procedures for determining what kind of fires warrant investigation. Hays County Fire Marshal Nathan Mendenhall says having set rules and procedures is needed to specify which fires warrant fire departments to contact the fire marshal.
“This has been an ongoing effort between myself and some of the other fire marshals in the county…just to set a standard on when the fire departments need to call us out for a fire that they are wanting investigated. This sets the parameters for that; helps develop the rules and procedures for how that’s done,” Mendenhall says.
A citizen advisory commission for redistricting was formed and approved by the commissioners with a goal to allow a bipartisan group decide on county redistricting. The advisory commission is required to have public meetings where citizens can participate and provide comments, make weekly timelines and comply with the Voting Rights Act and other aspects of redistricting.
Each commissioner will elect a member to the advisory commission. During the meeting, Becerra elected Shannon FitzPatrick, Commissioner Walt Smith elected Steve Meyer and Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe appointed Reuben Garza. Other members have yet to be announced.
The Hays County Commissioners Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. For more information visit its website.

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