TYLER, Texas (KETK) – In a unanimous move Tuesday morning, Smith County commissioners approved for the county to receive $5.4 million in coronavirus relief under the CARES Act.
Judge Nathaniel Moran explained at the meeting that the county would not be able to receive all the money right away and explained how the funds were divided.
Of the $11.24 billion allocated to Texas, the state government kept 55% of the funds and distributed the rest among cities and counties. Smith County’s cut was $5.4 million.
The county will receive the first 20% up front in a total of $1.078 million for immediate COVID-19 expenses, such as the purchase of masks. The money cannot be used for helping cities or counties to supplement lost revenue due to shutdowns.
Moran said that the county has been keeping a detailed list of county expenses. The other 80% of $4.3 million, he explained, will come as a reimbursement like any other grant from the state. The county has until December 30 to use the money.
It is unclear, according to Moran, at this time whether the state or the federal government would receive the money back if left unused.
Commissioner Jeff Warr expressed frustration with the Republican Party at the state level for taking 55% of all the funds.
“I am disappointed, but not surprised. They’re not paying for the testing in the nursing homes, but they had a big press conference [about it.]… it’s truly an executive decision.”