Council members question details of Georgetown's $1 million Bloomberg grant agreement

Source: City of Georgetown/ Community Impact Newspaper

Source: City of Georgetown/ Community Impact Newspaper

Several Georgetown City Council members raised questions March 12 over an agreement that will need the council’s approval before Georgetown can start cashing its $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ U.S. Mayors Challenge.

Georgetown was among nine cities announced last fall as million-dollar winners by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The city won with its “virtual power plant” plan to lease residential and commercial space to install solar panels and power-storage batteries, which officials said would help the city offset the need to buy additional power in the future from outside sources.

Council members were set to consider approval of a final agreement March 12. But after discussion made it clear that several council members—including John Hesser, Tommy Gonzalez and Kevin Pitts—wanted more detail on the specifics of the agreement, the council agreed unanimously to delay its consideration to March 26.

The agreement shows that Bloomberg’s grant money would be paid to Georgetown in four installments through 2021. Each installment comes with requirements, including one that directs Georgetown to hire a project director and complete an implementation plan and budget before Aug. 31.

A primary sticking point for council members involved a stipulation that would require the city to bear the cost of a project manager for the program before the final installment of the grant money is paid in 2021.

Jack Daly, an assistant to the city manager, told the council that funding a project manager to oversee the grant project would cost about $100,000 annually. Daly said he would reach out to Bloomberg to get written clarification on whether the city could decide to opt out of the program before the final installment in 2021.

Georgetown submitted its application to the U.S. Mayors Challenge in October 2017. The city was named one of 35 finalists in February 2018 and received $100,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop its proposal before the city was selected as a winner.

View the grant agreement below:


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