Williamson County receives more than $93M in federal funding, forms team to outline criteria for distribution

A Williamson County strike team has been formed that will determine how federal assistance funds will be distributed. (Community Impact Staff)
A Williamson County strike team has been formed that will determine how federal assistance funds will be distributed. (Community Impact Staff)

A Williamson County strike team has been formed that will determine how federal assistance funds will be distributed. (Community Impact Staff)

Correction: The Cleanpen products were a donation accepted by the court for sanitized pens, pencils or stylus devices used by voters and poll workers during the 2020 election in Williamson County.

Williamson County received $93.38 million from the CARES Act on April 23, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell told the commissioner court during an April 28 meeting.

The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which will be used to assist states and local governments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Initially, I would tell you that I was shocked with the amount because I thought that it was exorbitant, but then I began to look at the parameters and how we could use it and I realized that if we use the money well ... it is an opportunity to get reimbursements for the feeding of senior adults in our community, and it could be a great opportunity to help our local businesses,” Gravell said.

Payments from the fund can only be used to cover costs that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the coronavirus; were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27; and were incurred during the period that begins March 1 and ends Dec. 30, Williamson County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer said.


“That is all that the legislation sets, and so that leaves a whole lot of open territory,” Heselmeyer said.

The funding can go toward medical expenses; public health expenses; payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services and similar employees who are substantially dedicated to mitigating COVID-19; expenses to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures or economic support in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency; expenditures related to the provision of grants to small businesses to reimburse the cost of business interruption caused by required closures; and any other COVID-19 related expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government, Heselmeyer said.

There are some clarifications that still need to be made on how the money will be dispersed and what the qualifications will be, particularly to local businesses, he added.

To address that concern, the court appointed a strike team for distribution of funding for businesses led by Heselmeyer, Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey and Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles. The Commissioners Court will hold a special meeting on May 1 at 1 p.m. in order to further discuss business funding.

The strike team will also be responsible for determining if the money can be distributed to local governments, cities and school districts.

“To me, the first priority would be to [fund] the small businesses because, from my perspective, if the businesses are working well, the taxing agencies will work well,” Covey said.

Gravell said he would like checks to small businesses distributed as soon as possible, once parameters are set by the strike team.
By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Georgetown ISD announced preliminary plans to offer classes in person and at home next school year. (Screenshot courtesy Georgetown ISD)
Georgetown ISD announces preliminary plans to offer classes in person and at home next school year

“Know this is fluid. We are going to navigate this together and communicate as effectively as we can as frequently as we can," GISD Superintendent Fred Brent said.

The Texas Education Agency released guidelines about on-campus activities, attendance requirements, and health and safety precautions for the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency issues guidelines for 2020-21 school year

The guidelines address on-campus activities, attendance requirements, and health and safety precautions that should be enforced at Texas schools this year.

Edward Logan is the new CEO of Sport Clips Inc. (Courtesy Sport Clips Inc.)
New Sport Clips Haircuts CEO to succeed founder

In his early work with Sport Clips, Edward oversaw the company-owned stores, taking many of them to top performers within the system.

In-person appointments for driver license renewal and replacement are now being offered at driver license offices across the state. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas driver license offices reopen for in-person renewal, replacement services

The second phase of reopening announced July 7 expanded services offered at driver license offices.

New guidelines released by ICE require foreign students to take mostly in-person classes to stay in the U.S. on education visas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
New U.S. guidelines require exchange students to take in-person classes this fall

The guidelines released by ICE require foreign students to take mostly in-person classes to stay in the U.S. on education visas.

The Texas Education Agency and Renaissance have partnered to give students unlimited access to enhanced digital books in English and Spanish. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas students given access to thousands of books, news articles for summer reading through TEA partnership

The Texas Education Agency and Renaissance have partnered to give students unlimited access to enhanced digital books in English and Spanish.

The State Fair of Texas is expected to return in 2021. (Courtesy Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas)
State Fair of Texas cancels 2020 season

This is the eighth time in the fair’s 134-year history that the event has been called off.

Interim President Jay Hartzell said in a letter to the UT campus July 7 that a staff member has died from COVID-19. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of Texas custodial services staff member dies from COVID-19

This is the university's first death related to COVID-19, according to a message from interim President Jay Hartzell.

Jennifer Brown owns One Love Tattoos. (Courtesy One Love Tattoos)
One Love Tattoos determined to keep making its mark in town

“Tattooing, while completely mainstream now, is still controlled by the laws written by a generation where tattooing was considered only for those of little morals," tattoo shop owner Jennifer Brown said.

WoodsSpring suites opened its Georgetown location in late June. (Courtesy WoodSpring Suites)
New extended-stay hotel now open in Georgetown

WoodSpring Suites opened in late June.

Williamson County reports 763 more coronavirus cases and six deaths over holiday weekend. (Community Impact Staff)
OVER THE WEEKEND: Williamson County reports 763 more coronavirus cases, 6 deaths over 4 days

As of July 2, Williamson County had a 32.5% positivity rate, or the rate at which tests return positive, data shows.