Decision time for Buda on CARES

By Sahar Chmais

Coronavirus relief funds have allocated about $1 million to the city of Buda under certain conditions.

Buda City Council members agreed that the city should apply for the grant to help aid the city during the pandemic. The government will give the city 20% of the money upfront and will reimburse the rest after the city spends it. Money issued to Buda must go toward coronavirus aid, or else the city will not get refunded. Another condition is that the city must spend the funds before Dec. 31.

So far, council members have agreed on the proposed budget expenditures. But during the meeting, the city’s finance director, June Ellis, stressed that these plans are not final. If the city sees that the money should be spent another way, changes can be made.

The CARES Act funds created guidelines on how the money can be used in order for the city to receive reimbursement, and Buda budgeted 75% of the funds for medical expenses, public health and payroll, all of these items covered by the CARES Act guidelines.

The proposed budget will distribute $306,000 to COVID-19 testing for city employees, city council members and their family members. About $300,000 would be reimbursement for staff salaries, wages and benefits. Nearly $150,000 would be spent on prevention and containment such as sanitizing equipment, sanitization and disinfecting items.

Council member Teri Cummings asked Ellis if the city plans to fund public testing, which is not in the current proposal. Ellis said they do not have it planned but it does not mean they cannot make funds available for this purpose.

The other 25% will be spent on general government outlay, including emergency equipment and supplies, technological enhancements, legal services and more.

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