Bexar County has yet to decide how to spend millions of dollars in incoming federal coronavirus relief funds.
County commissioners will begin a series of work sessions on Wednesday morning to discuss funding from state and federal grants it receives, including the American Rescue Plan Act.
The county has already received $194 million in coronavirus relief funds from the federal government, said Melissa Shannon, director of governmental affairs. The federal funding is aimed at providing financial assistance for coronavirus recovery efforts, and county officials said in April they expect to receive a total of $388 million.
Guidehouse Inc. will provide the commissioners with a status update at Wednesday’s meeting. Commissioners hired the international consulting firm in April to provide guidance on how to spend federal coronavirus recovery funding as efficiently as possible. The $250,000 contract between the County and Guidehouse lasts for 90 days, but commissioners can extend or increase the contract. Guidehouse has provided similar services to Travis, Harris, and Tarrant counties.
Commissioners will lean on both community input and Guidehouse’s expertise when mapping out a plan for federal coronavirus recovery funding. But County Judge Nelson Wolff said at a May 18 meeting that the Commissioners Court already broadly knows its priorities for that money.
“We know what needs to be done to help things whether it’s mental health and drug abuse or housing. … It’s our job to decide how we want to spend this money,” Wolff said.
County Manager David Smith said Guidehouse will provide advice based on guidelines put out by the U.S. Treasury.
“They’re not going to figure out what you’re gonna do with it,” Smith said on May 18. “They’re going figure out what you’re allowed to do with it within Treasury guidelines.”
Commissioners will meet for their first work session on the American Rescue Plan Act funding on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Find the agenda here.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the amount of federal funding the county has received so far.