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Apr 16

April 16, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #24

Posted on April 16, 2020 at 4:34 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Will the governor announce new guidelines soon related to opening the economy?


Yes. The governor has confirmed that he will hold a press conference tomorrow (April 17). He has not yet shared any details about his plan, other than to say that, “This is not going to be a ‘rush the gates, everybody is able to suddenly reopen all at once…We have to understand that we must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that we contain the spread of COVID-19.” He went on to say that, “We’re going to be introducing Texas to this comprehensive team that we have put together, that will very comprehensively, carefully, strategically evaluate what must be done for Texas to open back up,” he explained Monday, “ensuring that what we’re doing is consistent with data with medical analysis, as well as strategies about which type of businesses will be able to open up.”


President Trump is conducting a press conference as this update goes out on his plan to “open up America.” The League will report on both as details become available.


Has the governor’s office made some stimulus money available to all cities?


Yes. As we reported yesterday (April 15), he has made available $38 million from a component of the CARES Act. It consists of funds allocated by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs


Another $24 million is allocated directly by the federal government to certain cities. The direct allocation is for cities that are eligible for a direct award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and those cities should first seek funds directly through BJA. The list of local allocations for direct BJA awards to Texas jurisdictions can be found here, and the federal solicitation is available here. Applications are due to BJA by May 29, 2020.


The remaining $42 million (of which the governor has made the $38 million available to local governments) appears to be available for all cities on a competitive basis. Cities should apply for those funds using the eGrants grant management website. The governor’s office has prepared detailed information on the program. To access that information, go to this website and click on the announcement for the “Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program.”


What can I do as a mayor (or any other city official) if I missed the deadline to sign on to the letter to the Texas congressional delegation asking for additional direct funding for cities?


If you did not have a chance to submit your name to be included in the letter to the Texas congressional delegation supporting the House version of the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, we urge you to visit with your congressional office to offer your support for direct funding to all Texas cities. More cosponsors are being added every day. In addition, the Coronavirus Community Relief Act will be introduced shortly in the Senate.


The previously passed CARES Act allows its funds to be used for "necessary expenditures." The Coronavirus Community Relief Act bill changes expenditures to “costs,” and would allow for costs to include – but not be limited to – lost revenue:


“(d) USE OF FUNDS.- A unit of local government shall use the funds provided under a payment made under this section to cover only those costs of the unit of local government that-

(1) are costs that-

(A) are reasonably deemed by the unit of local government to be necessary; and

(B) directly or indirectly involve, relate to, are, have been, or will be incurred due to, or are, have been, or will be a response to circumstances caused by, the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19); and

(2) were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.


(1) COSTS.-The term 'Costs' includes but is not limited to lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and increases in costs reasonably believed to be the direct or indirect result of, or direct or indirect responses to circumstances caused by, the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).”


The bill also provides flexibility for governments with a population of less than 500,000 to reallocate the money:


“To the extent that a unit of local government does not need all of the funds paid to it, it may transfer such funds to another unit of local government in the State for uses in paragraph (1) of this subsection and such transfer is deemed to be a cost of the transferor.”


If you are unsure who represents you in Washington, D.C., or need additional guidance, please contact Monty Wynn with TML’s legislative department at


Further Updates


Did the CARES Act provide additional funds for rural broadband development?


Yes, but they are limited to those cities that had previously applied. The United States Department of Agriculture has released guidance for the distribution of an additional $100 million for the ReConnect rural broadband program. However, the money will be directed to applicants that submitted 100 percent grant applications that were not successful during the first ReConnect funding round.


If applicants already resubmitted their application for the second round of funding, they will be eligible for priority consideration.

Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?

TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.