City Council on May 27 approved an interlocal agreement with Tarrant County to accept a grant of $2.48 million to help offset city expenses related to COVID-19. The grant money is a direct result of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding, which county officials approved on May 12.
“It will help [fill] the gaps in revenue in the general fund by reimbursing previous expenditures,” City Manager Mark Hafner said. “We should be squared away at the end of the year with our budget.”
The grant money is being distributed on a $55-per-capita basis based on city of Keller population estimates by the North Texas Council of Governments. The latest NTCOG estimates put the city’s population at 45,090.
According to Hafner, grant funds can be used for coronavirus expenses the city has already incurred and to help the city continue to respond to prevent further spread of the virus. Funds cannot be used for a budget shortfall, and any funds not spent will be returned to the county, he said.
Eligible city expenses for federal funding include payroll expenses for public safety personnel, personal protective equipment, signage, attorney fees, and disinfectant supplies and services.
“There is also a provision that we can use up to 25% related to grants for small businesses,” Hafner said, noting a total of $100,000 already authorized for the city's “Beyond The Mask” initiative will be reimbursable.
Additional city expenses eligible for reimbursement include supplies and disinfectant services at The Keller Pointe; sanitization of the police department dispatch center; and direct salaries and benefits for police, fire and public information personnel.
“We don’t have a health department of our own, so we rely on Tarrant County,” Mayor Pat McGrail said.
The interlocal agreement to provide the city with federal funding was approved 7-0.