The city of Pearland received $6.7 million in CARES Act funding from Brazoria, Harris and Fort Bend counties. The city has allocated the money toward business relief, household relief, city reimbursements related to COVID-19, facility improvements and hazard pay for first responders.
The city originally presented potential allocations for CARES Act funding in June and in August, according to Grants-Special Project Administrator Joel Hardy. The plan presented Dec. 7 modifies some of the spending plans, which the city must have finalized by Dec. 30. In the plan presented Dec. 7, the city allocated a total of $1.47 million to AISD and PISD, compared to the original allocation of $260,000. The city will allocate $1.17 million to Pearland ISD and $300,000 to AISD. The state will match the funds for the districts, going toward Operation Connectivity, which is a state plan to connect students with a device and internet connection.
Council Member Luke Orlando and Adrian Hernandez both asked if it was possible for the city to allocate more money towards personnel reimbursements, rather than all $1.47 million going toward the ISDs. However, council ultimately approved the motion as staff presented it. One reason mentioned by Grants-Special Project Administrator Joel Hardy is that the allocating the money differently might risk the state choosing not to reimburse the city.
“We’re receiving guidance on this program two weeks ago for things that need to be dealt within the next two weeks, so we just kind used some care and caution in dealing with the state funds, which is why we were hesitant to proceed with the full-scale reimbursement of personnel expenses,” Hardy said.
Orlando also asked if the city can prioritize any unused funds. Hardy assured council that using all of the allocated funds is a priority for the city.
“To put it simply, we don’t want to leave any money on the table,” Hardy said.
City Council passed all three agenda items related to the CARES Act funding.