The first track continues funding for programs established thanks to federal dollars from the Coronavirus Relief Funds. Funding for track one totaled over $38.38 million, with the largest allocation going toward supporting small businesses through $8 million to TCTX Thrive.
For the second track, the court listed nine focus areas, including homelessness, broadband infrastructure, mental health, and water infrastructure.
Travis County Commissioner Ann Howard said that expanding access to water could have a particularly profound impact. “I think there’s just a lot of opportunity to partner and make life-changing, transformational change with these one-time federal dollars.”
The court plans to hold a work session and engage the community to more clearly define how the second track dollars will be spent. In passing the motion, it only approved $250,000 for engagement on broadband infrastructure, as well as $250,000 for engagement on mental health support.
The third track involves continued direct response to pandemic needs, including a potential radio frequency ID band project for the county jail to help with contact tracing. The court stressed that the county must continue to be prepared for possible COVID-19 outbreaks.
“I don't think any of us know what's going to happen with these new mutations that are incredibly contagious and are causing surges in infections all over the planet, including in Texas,” Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said.
The three tracks cover around 30% of the full $247 million available to the county. The court plans to engage the community to determine how to prioritize the remaining 70% of that funding, which will primarily go toward track two priorities.