Update given on $1.1 million in Brownwood County grants

Special to the Bulletin
Brown County Courthouse

Brown County grants coordinator Bob Contreras provided the following information via email about county grants:

Brown County has four approved grants totaling $1,107,535, which the county is using to improve roads, provide emergency water supplies, rebuild low-water crossings and to defer costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

In May 2020, Brown County applied for the Coronavirus Relief Fund and was eligible to receive $55 for every person who lived outside of an incorporated area; the grant allowed for 20% to be paid up front.

With 12,868 people living in unincorporated areas, Brown County was eligible for $707,740.

The county received $141,548 (20%) in May 2020. In December, the county had to account for that amount and reimburse the state for any money remaining. That money could only be spent on a limited range of purposes. The county used it to purchase a variety of extensive protective measures for the courthouse, Personal Protective Equipment and public safety personnel costs.

As time went on, the state expanded the list of authorized expenditures with the result that the county ended up being eligible for reimbursement of the entire authorized amount. Therefore, on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, the county received an additional check for $566,192. This money will be used by the commissioners to offset costs incurred dealing with the effects of the COVID pandemic.

County expenses included $1,498 beyond the initial maximum allotted, and the county will be reimbursed that amount in the future. In total, the county has received $707,740 from the CRF. County Treasurer Ann Krpoun and County Auditor’s office did exhaustive research and data collection to make these reimbursements possible.

In 2020, Brown County was awarded grants from the Texas Department of Emergency Management to repair a low-water crossing Commissioner Shaw’s precinct, and to provide an emergency electrical system backup (a 35kw LP generator) in Commissioner Kelton’s precinct. Work on the low-water crossing in Commissioner Shaw’s precinct will begin as soon as a hydrology study is completed.

This grant package totals $214,665, of which the county must pay $53,666.25. The county will be reimbursed this month for 75% of an expenditure of $7,849, which was used to begin purchase of the emergency electrical backup system for the May community in Commissioner Kelton’s precinct. The grant package is worth $20,291, of which TxDot will pay $15,218.25 (75%) and the county will pay $5,072.75 (25%).

In late 2020, the Texas Department of Transportation awarded Brown County a Texas Infrastructure grant package worth $206,048. The county will pay $41,209 of that amount, and TxDoT will pay $164,839 on a reimbursement basis. Last week, the county filed for reimbursement of $18,563 on an expenditure of $23,204. Payment is expected this week.