Instead of applying for the relief funds directly through the state of Texas, Bellaire will spend the rest of August considering what expenses are eligible and honing in on potential grant programs before applying for the funds in September and October, interim City Manager Brant Gary told the council.
Funding will come from Harris County’s $28.5 million Small City Assistance Program, established to provide COVID-19 financial assistance to cities with a population of less than 500,000 in Harris County. The funds come from $426 million Harris County received directly from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, established through the $150 billion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Lost revenue seen by the city during the pandemic is not eligible to be offset by the funding. Instead, city expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30 will be eligible for reimbursement, so long as they were either necessary expenditures due to the public health emergency or were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27—the date of enactment of the federal coronavirus relief package.
Eligible expenses include: public safety and public health payroll, personal protective equipment and supplies, and grant programs to prevent evictions and support small-business recovery.
Bellaire’s total possible relief of $1.043 million is based on $55-per-resident criteria established by the Texas Department of Emergency Management for cities and counties in Texas with a population of less than 500,000. Bellaire’s population is less than 19,000, according to 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimates.