LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A non-profit group called West Texas Organizing Strategy hosted a virtual meeting with other citizens from other Texas cities where some Lubbockites expressed frustration, wanting the Texas Department of Emergency Management to follow through on coronavirus relief funds.
“It shows people are upset. There are hurting people with stories and there are angry enough people to organize about it,” said Rev. Davis Price, a leader with WTOS.
1.85 billion was set to be distributed among cities with populations smaller than 500,000.
Lubbock was allocated a little over 14.11 million dollars by the state. 20 percent was reimbursed, but not the other 80 percent.
The city is supposed to be reimbursed funds given toward expenses like rent and utilities, childcare, and other expenses related to the Coronavirus that Lubbockites applied for to the city.
The funds also must go toward expenditures the city has paid for due to the Coronavirus, such as medical and public health expenses, payroll for public safety and health care employees, and to make up for any action taken by the city to make sure it’s in compliance with measures brought about by the Coronavirus.
Maria Garcia, another leader with WTSO, says TDEM has made it difficult for local governments to get their reimbursed funds.
“I do not think it’s a justifiable action from our higher administration. I know our local government has been working really hard but there is that added documentation that added hassle and it’s very upsetting. It’s our community, our community is hurting and that is what matters to me.”
Other small cities in the meeting wanted their funds to reimbursed too.
The City Manager of Lubbock says the City of Lubbock has filed an application for reimbursement from the Texas Department of Emergency Management, but to no avail.
In a news conference held in Lubbock on Thursday, Governor Abbott was asked why TDEM has not issued reimbursements to Lubbock: “We wanted to make sure that that money would be available and not spent early on…. and not have access to it now ….for us to be able to respond to the medical needs right now and will exist through the remainder of the year.”