Of the $93 million in funding, the court earmarked $25 million for its Wilco Forward grant program that aided small businesses of fewer than 100 full-time equivalent employees impacted by the pandemic.
As of June 1, 3,280 applications had been filed, Williamson County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer said. Of those, 500 came in the first 30 minutes, 1,700 in the first 12 hours and about 2,600 in the first week, he said. In less than 30 days, 2,300 applications have been approved with about 750 pending review, he added.
About $23.8 million has been distributed so far, he said.
“I can’t underscore the difference this is making in our community,” Heselmeyer said. “This has been a monumental task. We have some very talented people who approved these applications.”
Heselymeyer said he predicted an additional $10 million in funding commissioners committed June 2 will allow the county to deliver funding to all applied businesses that qualify, to which the court approved.
Coronavirus funding distribution
The county received the approximately $93 million in federal funding on April 23. Since then, the county has allocated $3 million for the county, $3.5 million for technology needs and $25 million in small-business grant funding, which totals about $31.5 million, Heselmeyer said.
In a second phase, the county plans to allocate an additional $40 million, which will include $20 million for cities, $1 million for the Williamson County and Cities Health District, the additional $10 million for the small-business grant program that was previously approved in the June 2 meeting, and funding for emergency services districts and Bluebonnet Trails, a community services organization that heavily focuses on mental illness of adults and children to which the county has a contract with.
Court members emphasized money will only be given to cities where a majority of their residents are Williamson County residents, excluding Pflugerville and Austin.
“Our goal was to get the money to these entities as quickly as possible to help them with the expenditures they already made,” Commissioner Valerie Covey said.
The second phase in funding distribution was also broken down for the court. The phase is broken down into three segments to which money will be distributed through December—when the county has to finish spending the money—based on when the expenses were made, Covey said. For example, the first part of Phase 2—dubbed Phase 2 A—will cover expenditures made between March 1 through May 31 with a mid-June deadline and a similar pattern for the remaining two parts of the phase, she added.
The county will then be left with $21.5 million in federal coronavirus funding, which Heselmeyer said can be allocated at a different time.
In other news
- Williamson County commissioners adopted a telework policy for county employees. The policy provides a baseline for department employees who may engage in teleworking, and department heads and elected officials are encouraged to add additional policies for their offices if necessary, the agenda item read. Commissioner Cynthia Long made clear the county will not pay for internet access for the employee, so before engaging in teleworking, the employee will have to be sure they have the internet bandwidth to do so.