What Austin Services Could Benefit From Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Some departments in the city of Austin could get a financial boost after the Texas legislature passed a bill in the third special session that allocates federal coronavirus relief funds .

Senate Bill 8 attributes the $ 13.3 billion Texas received under the American Rescue Plan Act to various state agencies. These funds could eventually trickle down to Austin, the city’s intergovernmental relations officer. explains in a Monday memo.

While the governor has not yet approved the legislation, City of Austin staff are already examining the potential impacts of the funding on their services.

The city’s memo says Austin could directly benefit from funding in three areas: EMS staffing, broadband infrastructure, and tourism and travel grants.

According to the memo, the bill sets aside $ 21.7 million for Texas State Department Health Services to increase emergency medical response service personnel through incentive programs, workforce development initiatives and education programs.

The legislation also allocates $ 180 million for tourism / travel subsidies and to help the hospitality industry recover from the pandemic. The city’s memo indicates that grants have a limit of $ 20,000.

Finally, the bill puts over $ 500 million in the hands of the controller for broadband infrastructure. The city’s memo refers to legislation passed during the ordinary session that created a broadband development office. The office will map areas of the state with limited broadband access and provide grants to expand access in those areas.

The city memo also lists a number of fundraising initiatives that are supported by the city.

This includes $ 95 million to the Department of Agriculture for food banks, $ 5 million for home-delivered meals, $ 2 billion to DSHS for health care staff and regional infusion centers, and $ 378 million. dollars to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for grants for staffing needs. in long-term care facilities.

The city memo again reiterates that many details surrounding the credits in SB 8 have yet to be fleshed out. Staff aim to keep board members informed as more information is released.

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