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County sends cash to neighboring cities

Friday, June 12, 2020 by Jessi Devenyns

This week, small municipalities in the county will receive an official contract outlining the direct funds that Travis County will provide to help bolster an economy rattled by the Covid-19 pandemic. “They’re anxious to see the document,” Commissioner Gerald Daugherty said at the June 9 meeting of the Commissioners Court. Last week, the Commissioners Court allocated $7.3 million, or $55 per Travis County resident, in the surrounding municipalities, excluding Austin. At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners finalized the interlocal agreement with the cities in order to provide them with direct relief, but limited the types of programming the funds are eligible to be used for. Municipalities will not be able to create rent, mortgage or utility assistance programs in order to avoid residents receiving aid both from the county and their respective city of residence. Commissioners explained that this limitation was to avoid a duplication of dollar expenditures as federal law prohibits aid dollars distributed under the CARES Act from being spent on duplicate programming. Small cities may, however, set up small business assistance programs as long as the cities do not grant financial relief to businesses that receive help from the county. “We don’t know everything that the local city mayors and management know about their local small business communities,” said Diana Ramirez, the director of the Economic Development Department. “As long as we coordinate, we think it’s going to work fine.”

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