TAC, county officials discuss ARPA funding


During its Sept. 13 meeting, the Gonzales County Commissioners Court received a presentation from Tramer Woytek with the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) regarding the American Rescue Plan. 

Woytek, who is the Judicial Resources and Liaison and County Relations Officer with TAC, addressed those in attendance regarding the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. The act established the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which include $65.1 billion in direct aid from the U.S. Treasury Department to all counties nationwide. Of that total, Texas' 254 counties will receive about $5.7 billion. 

Woytek explained that the U.S. Treasury Department published proposed rules, known as the interim final rule, on May 17 that define acceptable uses for American Rescue Plan recovery funds. Publication of the interim final rule began a two-month period for collecting comments from county officials. 

“The next step in the federal rulemaking process is pending,” Woytek noted. He also said that TAC is monitoring developments and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. 

According to the TAC website, counties will receive their allocation directly from the Treasury Department in two portions, with the first 50 percent having arrived in May, with the remaining 50 percent to arrive about 12 months later. Each county's allocation is based generally on its share of the U.S. population. Also according to the website, the Treasury Department created a submission portal through which counties can request their share of the recovery funds. Counties need a valid Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and an active registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) database to submit their requests and receive payment. 

During the presentation Woytek also pointed out that an interim report was due Aug. 31, 2021, and that all counties that have certified for recovery funds were required to submit 

the interim report, which covered spending from the date the county received its recovery funds to July 31. 

Also, a performance report was due Aug. 31 from counties that received recovery funds before July 15 and that have a population of at least 250,000. Counties that received recovery funds after July 15 must submit their reports within 60 days of receiving funding. 

“All counties must file quarterly project and expenditure reports,” Woytek noted. “The first report covering spending from the date the county receives its recovery funds to Sept. 30, 2021, is due by Oct. 31, 2021.” 

TAC also noted on its website that an annual recovery plan performance report is required only for counties with populations of at least 250,000. The first performance report was due Aug. 31. Each annual report thereafter will cover 12 months and will be due within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. 

Commissioners also announced they would be holding a special called meeting on Thursday, Sept. 16, during which they will meet in an executive session during which they will interview candidates for an interim sheriff.

Upon returning to regular session, they will consider and discuss appointing the best candidate for the position. 

In other business, commissioners: 

• approved a resolution authorizing County Grant Program Year 2022;

• received monthly reports from constables on precincts 1, 3 and 4;

• received the county clerk’s report of fines and jury fees for approval and filing in the minutes pursuant to Tex. Gov. Code 51.402; and

• approved an order to create a county elections administrator.