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Lubbock city, county officials unsure how $116 million recovery funding will be spent

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 5:28 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The $350 billion in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds have been allocated to local governments across the United States.

While the funds have been expected since the American Rescue Plan passed in March, Lubbock leaders don’t exactly know how they’ll spend the nearly $117 million coming to the city and county governments.

“We can make the decisions just as soon as we have a good, definite plan,” Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish said. “I don’t want to just rush into this process, because we don’t want the government to come back later and say, ‘No, you could not spend it on this project. So, we want our money back.’”

Judge Parrish said it will take several months to formulate that plan and the money will have to be spent by December of 2023. Lubbock County was allocated $60,324,387, an amount Parrish said was determined by the federal government.

“This is going to impact every single county and pretty much every community in the United States,” Parrish said. “So, we are kind of leaning on other people to kind of look at exactly what we can and what we can’t use this money for. I think as we’ve received guidelines, as they have been trickling in since February, one of the things that we have noticed is that they’re pretty specific about what you can’t use the money for.”

Guidelines released Monday along with the allocations show the ineligible uses of the money include offsetting a reduction in net tax revenue due to a change in law starting March 3, 2021, or depositing the funds in a pension fund.

Eligible uses of the funds include the following, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

  • Support public health expenditures, by, for example, funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff
  • Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harm to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector
  • Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic
  • Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors
  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet

“[Lubbock] Mayor [Dan] Pope and I have met together, looking at things that we can jointly do between the Lubbock County and the City of Lubbock,” Judge Parrish said. “We’ll be meeting with other our other community partners in Lubbock County, along with some of our other partners in the mental health, hospitals, schools, we’ll be meeting with all those in the upcoming months to determine what is the best way to spend this money given to us by the federal government.”

With an allocation of $56,575,324 for the City of Lubbock, Mayor Pope released the following statement Wednesday:

“These funds provide the City an opportunity to address both prior impacts caused by the pandemic and long-standing community needs. We will evaluate projects to address issues for which these funds provide opportunities that were not previously available. We see opportunities to partner with Lubbock County on matters that impact all our constituents and we look forward to discussions around these opportunities. As we continue to study the guidelines, we expect to identify occasions to work with other entities and community partners to help with projects that are eligible under the ARP funds. Right now, the City Council will focus on the Future Needs discussion, and will then turn its attention to the American Rescue Plan projects.”

To view the list of counties and their funding allocation click here.

Click here for the list of cities.

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