On Wednesday, commissioners voted to approve six categories of spending for federal coronavirus recovery dollars, allowing Bexar County staff to begin allocating funding for different purposes.
Bexar County is slated to receive a total of $388 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and has already received the first half of that funding. Of the total, more than $100 million still needs to be programmed, said David Marquez, executive director of economic development for Bexar County.
Like the City of San Antonio’s funding from the federal government, Bexar County’s federal dollars must be committed by the end of 2024 and fully spent by the end of 2026. Marquez, who is overseeing the county’s allocation, said the county currently plans to apply $218.6 million of the total toward revenue loss replacement. Another $19.4 million will go to administrative costs, which could mean hiring staff to help with funding distribution or reading through grants from external organizations seeking some of the ARPA money from the county.
As voted on Wednesday, 24% of the $150 million left to be programmed will go to economic stability, 13% to education access and quality, 23% to health care access and quality, 10% to neighborhood and environment investment, 19% to social and community investment, and 10% to the justice system and juvenile support services. The percentages may change, but the county can now move forward with allocating funding, Marquez said.
The county has committed about $40 million of that already, leaving roughly $110 million that still needs direction, Marquez said. He added that only about $2 million or $3 million has been spent.
The money that has already been spent went toward projects with “immediate impact,” Marquez said, such as a contribution of $20,000 to Eagles Flight Advocacy and Outreach Summer Animal Play Program and another of $82,169 to the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas that commissioners also approved Wednesday.
Marquez said he’s not sure which categories those contributions will fall under, “because I didn’t have a bucket.” But now, he does.
“We plan to spend the ARPA funding to help the community in all the allowed categories,” Marquez said.