Commissioners met Dec. 21 at the Jack Hatchell Administration Building and discussed funds received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Both city and county officials reflected over the monthslong process of dispersing and utilizing funds to bolster charity, public safety in cities and COVID-19 testing.
McKinney Council Member Scott Elliott, who is also executive director at Community Lifeline Center at North Waddill Street, publicly thanked county officials for their efforts in delivering CARES Act funding.
“Just like every other agency, at Community Lifeline Center, we do not celebrate the numbers. Behind every number, there’s pain,” Elliot said to the commissioners. “But we do celebrate the ability to provide, and [Collin County has] been a big portion of that.”
Community Lifeline Center was selected among county agencies to receive CARES Act funding for emergency living and housing assistance food pantry. The nonprofit prior to the federal aid received through the county provided 4,500 pounds of food per month to area families, Elliot said.
Now, Elliot said Community Lifeline Center is regularly providing 125,000 pounds of food per month.
“There are a lot of stories ... but just know, there are a lot of folks that are indebted to what y’all have done.” Elliott said. “Literally thousands and thousands of families, every single month, have been helped by the food pantry funding that y’all provided.”
About $28.6 million was allocated to Collin County cities to help pay public safety salaries in 2021. Frisco received $4.09 million, and McKinney received $6.08 million.
Regarding further funding, Collin County Administrator Bill Bilyeu on Dec. 21 told commissioners the county does not expect a distribution as large as the first $171 million in advance of Congress passing a new $900 billion pandemic relief package, which passed the evening of Dec. 21.
“This one would be more of a reimbursement for continued participation of testing and probably some type of vaccine reimbursement,” Bilyeu said.
Collin County Judge Chris Hill said making sure citizen tax dollars were distributed back to them with “absolute integrity and openness” was an immense challenge, expressing receiving a mammoth amount of money all at once from the federal government is a far cry from typical county affairs.
“It’s a difficult task when the federal government gives you $171 million and says, ‘Go spend it.’” Hill said. “It’s quite frankly so out of touch with what we do. But we made a decision early on that those were dollars paid by the citizens of this county—those were tax dollars that were paid in. And to the extent possible, we were gonna put those tax dollars to good use and help those families that were struggling.”