In order to help divide and disperse over $134 million in federal emergency funds, the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court will hold a workshop next week so all municipal, schools, utility and business interests can be represented.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting, commissioners agreed to hold the workshop after hearing from several speakers, including the mayors of Fulshear, Sugar Land and Meadows Place, on how to spend the funds from the CARES Act.
The workshop will help finalize the budget for the funds after the Fort Bend CARES Act Distribution Advisory Committee forms a draft with input from county commissioners.
Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Fulshear Mayor Aaron Groff and Meadows Place Mayor Charles Jessup all spoke in support of the court’s efforts to distribute the funds.
“The cities are facing something that they have never seen before,” Jessup said to the commissioners. “And I want to thank you for the effort you are putting in and the abusage that you’re going to take.”
But with so many issues that the coronavirus pandemic has created, there are several issues that many county cities and entities want to address. Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers said that he wants more help for small businesses in the county. A member of the county’s interfaith community wants to give relief to those who can pay their rent or mortgage. Groff also spoke about finding ways to prevent homelessness in the county.
Bryan Guinn, the chief financial officer of Fort Bend ISD, asked commissioners to put some funds over to feeding children and addressing mental health.
Jeff Wiley, president and CEO of the Fort Bend Economic Development Council, wanted help with payroll reimbursements and business grants as a second priority after purchasing personal protective equipment and supplies.
Even with the differences in where to invest the funds, Precinct 2 Grady Prestage said that he feels that they can come together on the final budget.
“We’re not that far from the mark,” he said. “I see a happy ending to this for everyone. But we have to be careful how we handle this. We have to be more pragmatic and simple.”