Fort Bend County OKs budget for distributing $134M CARES Act funds

Sixteen people—including Andrew Van Chau with the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce—spoke at the special May 19 meeting of the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court to discuss the budget for how to spend $134.3 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. (Screenshot via Fort Bend County)
Sixteen people—including Andrew Van Chau with the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce—spoke at the special May 19 meeting of the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court to discuss the budget for how to spend $134.3 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. (Screenshot via Fort Bend County)

Sixteen people—including Andrew Van Chau with the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce—spoke at the special May 19 meeting of the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court to discuss the budget for how to spend $134.3 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. (Screenshot via Fort Bend County)

In a 3-2 vote at the May 19 special meeting, the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court passed a budget for how to spend $134.3 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales and Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers, both Republicans, voted against the budget. Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage, Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken DeMerchant and County Judge KP George, all Democrats, voted in favor for the budget.

Several expenditure amounts and categories changed between the proposed budget revealed at the May 12 court meeting and the passed budget, which was provided to Community Impact Newspaper by the judge’s office.

For example, the small-business grant program increased from $2 million in the proposed budget to $22 million in the passed budget.

Other notable changes include the amount of funding allocated to cities within Fort Bend County. Based on a funding formula that allotted $55 per capita based on 2019 population recorded by the U.S. census, about $15.9 million will go to municipalities, according to the passed budget.

The proposed budget had previously allocated $4.8 million to this expenditure. However, there was a $10 million expenditure category for political subdivisions to submit COVID-19-related expenses that was removed from the passed budget.


Here are the funding amounts for each city:

  • Sugar Land: $6,523,000

  • Missouri City: $3,763,760

  • Rosenberg $2,093,355

  • Stafford: $990,165

  • Richmond: $661,815

  • Fulshear: $659,450

  • Meadows Place: $253,935

  • Weston Lakes: $210,100

  • Needville: $169,235

  • Arcola: $137,060

  • Katy: $118,745

  • Pleak: $88,605

  • Fairchilds Village: $67,320

  • Pearland: $56,155

  • Simonton: $48,345

  • Beasley: $36,465

  • Orchard: $22,385

  • Kendleton: $21,835

  • Thompsons: $18,535


However, not everyone was pleased with the passed budget, for which the Commissioners Court invited more than 50 entities to participate in a committee to discuss how the funds should be distributed.

Sixteen people spoke during public comment at the May 19 meeting asking for adjustments.They asked for additional funds for residents, local businesses and schools.

In particular, faith leaders and nonprofits asked rental assistance funds increase to $25 million and utility assistance funds increase to $7 million. Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman stated outright he did not support the budget.

“That budget does not address the intent of the funding as the governor reviewed with us last week,” Zimmerman said. “It doesn't address the needs of the community as we've heard here."

While Zimmerman asked the county to step back and review, Meadows Place Mayor Charles Jessup urged the court to act quickly to help his city cover costs associated with COVID-19.

Jessup along with many of the speakers recognized that the court's decision on how to distribute the funds is a difficult one: The need is great, and the funds are limited.

"Y’all had a tough decision, and no matter what you did, you're going to get it wrong," Jessup said. "Somebody is going to be mad at you."

Despite the many speakers, the court did not make any changes to the budget presented at the May 19 meeting. Meyers attempted to propose his own budget, but the court voted 2-3 to discuss it as an amendment, and so it failed.
By Jen Para
Jen joined Community Impact Newspaper in fall 2018 as the editor of the Katy edition. She covers education, transportation, local government, business and development in the Katy area.


MOST RECENT

The overall death total in Harris County hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 17 deaths confirmed Aug. 5, including man in his 20s

The overall death total hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

The 2020 Fort Bend County Fair has been canceled over concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Bill Robertson, Fort Bend County Fair & Rodeo)
2020 Fort Bend County Fair canceled due to pandemic

This is the first time the annual event has been canceled since World War II.

Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, the director of Fort Bend County Health and Human Services and Fort Bend County Judge KP George give a COVID-19 case count update at an Aug. 5 press conference. (Screenshot from Facebook livestream)
Fort Bend County COVID-19 case counts to 'exponentially increase,' officials say

Reports of COVID-19 cases will exponentially increase in Fort Bend County over the next week, County Judge KP George said in an Aug. 5 press conference.

A total of 723 of the new cases were confirmed in Harris County outside of the city of Houston, which is the most to be confirmed outside of the city in a single day. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 1,438 new cases, 22 deaths confirmed Aug. 4

A total of 723 of the new cases were confirmed in Harris County outside of the city of Houston, which is the most to be confirmed outside of the city in a single day.

With some Harris County residents waiting up to two weeks to get test results, the county has announced a maximum turnaround time of 3-5 days on county-sponsored tests moving forward. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County announces evening testing hours, faster turnaround on COVID-19 tests

With some Harris County residents waiting up to two weeks to get test results, the county has announced a maximum turnaround time of 3-5 days on county-sponsored tests moving forward.

In the last year, Whataburger launched a new, modern restaurant design and began offering curbside and delivery services for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release. (Courtesy Elizabeth James for Whataburger)
Whataburger to celebrate 70th anniversary, unveil food truck, expand into 3 states

Nine more new Whataburger locations are planned by year's end, and 35 new restaurants are proposed for 2021.

Harris County Pets will offer free adoptions in August. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets announces free adoption days in August

As part of a national initiative to clear animal shelters, Harris County Pets will offer free adoptions for spayed or neutered and heartworm-positive pets.

The U.S. Census Bureau will halt its counting operation a month earlier than expected. (Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)
U.S. Census Bureau to halt counting operation a month earlier than expected

The self-response deadline has moved up to Sept. 30.