After being allocated more than $951,000 in CARES Act funding, Mineral Wells officials discussed the purchase of police department vehicles with the remainder of its funds Tuesday night.
“We have been allocated $951,225 in CARES Act funding. Up to 25% can be spent on economic development and we haven’t talked about that before,” Mineral Wells City Manager Randy Criswell said. “I didn’t want to make assumptions or decisions on how we would approach our CARES Act reimbursement without the council having some knowledge that there are uses we haven’t chosen to use it for at this point but could be on the table.”
According to a city document, $450,822 was approved on July 8 for the purchase of a Braun ambulance, $388,986, and a DECON truck, $61,836 — both items are currently in construction. Other purchases totaled $238,519.56 for a total of $689,341.56.
The amount remaining to commit is $238,519.56.
“There are lots of available expenditures of that CARES Act money and there are multiple potential reimbursable [costs] that we have already incurred or will incur. One of them specifically is payroll expenses," Criswell said. "There’s been basically a determination that the government has accepted that public safety and public health is all presumed to be covered, so all payroll expenses of public safety and public health are now eligible for the expenditure of those dollars. Our recommendation is that we proceed with the purchase of those police vehicles, which then is an eligible purchase for reimbursement.”
The city has listed a Chevy Tahoe police pursuit vehicle, four Ford Interceptor police vehicles and replacement of 20 mobile and 20 handheld public safety radios.
“This money is a blessing and if we spend it on vehicles for the police department, that’s vehicles we’re not having to budget for in the future,” Place 1 At-Large Councilmember Brian Shoemaker said. “So at some point we can hopefully drop taxes down. I think that’s the best way to do it and get some assets in here that we really need.”
The city is also committing $60,000 to help cover some overtime costs.
“The place that we really ran over was in our overtime, and I see here we’re already committing $60,000 to help cover some of that and so I absolutely agree — I prefer we move our public safety further with the funds that are available,” Ward 4 Councilmember Doyle Light said.
Criswell said the council will need to approve the purchases as they come up, so no action was taken Tuesday.