The Woodlands Township seeks $450,000 reimbursement for coronavirus expenses

The Woodlands board of directors discussed receiving reimbursements for coronavirus expenses July 16. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands board of directors discussed receiving reimbursements for coronavirus expenses July 16. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Woodlands board of directors discussed receiving reimbursements for coronavirus expenses July 16. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Woodlands Township is seeking reimbursement through federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to cover more than $450,000 in expenses incurred by both the township and The Woodlands Fire Department.

Expenses have been incurred by the township and The Woodlands Fire Department to pay for personal protective equipment, sanitizer, disinfectants, park closures, overtime and quarantine time.

During a July 16 meeting, Todd Stephens, The Woodlands intergovernmental relations manager, said both Harris and Montgomery counties received federal coronavirus funding allocations of $425 million and $105 million, respectively, based on their populations.

Stephens said jurisdictions with populations of less than 500,000 have to seek assistance from their counties to be reimbursed for coronavirus expenses.

"Earlier this week, we were notified by Harris County that their court has approved what they call a small-city assistance program," Stephens said. "And in that program preliminary information is the township would be eligible for upwards of $715,000 in expenses."


Stephens noted Montgomery County has not started a similar program.

The board of directors approved a two-pronged measure to ask Montgomery County to fund the township at a rate of $55 per capita for reimbursement and send a letter to U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, to ask for greater clarity on what The Woodlands is eligible for.

Stephens said the U.S. Department of the Treasury has indicated the township is available to receive funds, but the question comes down to who is responsible for distributing the funds.

"Montgomery County Commissioners Court has said in their proceedings that their interpretation of treasury guidance is that it should come from the state," Stephens said. "The state's interpretation of the guidance is that counties that received a direct allocation from treasury, they are responsible for paying for their smaller jurisdictions."

Stephens added he is unaware of other cities or municipalities within Montgomery County receiving funding from the county. Montgomery County is currently looking at a stimulus program to send funds directly to residential homeowners within the county.

"What brings this up is that Harris County, without us having to ask, is volunteering to provide the per-capita funding that was outlined by the state," board Chairman Gordy Bunch said. "I do think it's prudent to get Congressman Brady to weigh in."

Bunch added funds through the federal coronavirus relief funding can be put to stocking up on protective equipment, establishing rapid test sites and stocking up on bunker gear for first responders.

The board of directors unanimously approved sending the letters to Montgomery County and Brady.
By Andrew Christman
Andrew joined Community Impact Newspaper in early 2019 after moving from Indiana. He is a 2015 graduate from Indiana State University, where he received degrees in English and journalism. He has written for a number of small town publications throughout his career as a reporter.


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