Palo Pinto County commissioners

With the deadline set for Friday, the Palo Pinto County commissioners court reviewed and approved a spending plan for the $542,575 allocated in coronavirus relief funding.

The plan was reviewed during Monday morning’s regular meeting.

“Obviously there’s been funding from the corona relief funds, CARES funding, and the county has been allotted an initial $108,000, which is 20% of the total allotted for Palo Pinto County, which was deposited to a special account created by the treasurer’s office,” Palo Pinto County Judge Shane Long said. “We do have a plan that has to be presented to the Texas Department of Emergency Management by Friday this week and so we’ve been working on that plan and that is to move forward with receiving reimbursement for the rest of that funding.”

The U.S. Department of Treasury allocated a lump sum to Texas, which was then distributed to counties and cities based on the population. Mineral Wells received about $920,000 and Gordon, Mingus, Strawn and Graford also received funding. A spending plan must be in place and the funding has to be expended by the end of the year, Long said.

Palo Pinto County Emergency Management Coordinator Mistie Garland went over the spending plan, which included $20,000 for inmate housing in Jack County, $49,000 for additional temperature screening kiosks and more personal protective equipment, $341,314.06 for payroll expenses and $148,044.52 for new body cameras and in-vehicle cameras for the sheriff’s office deputies to allow for a more virtual work environment.

To get the funding approved is a six-step process, Long said.

“The funds we have spent, the first $108,000, leaves us roughly $430,000 and that’s what this plan is reflective of and then we’re talking about $341,000 of that $430,000 being in salaries, so I feel comfortable with that,” he said. “We wouldn’t have a lost of risk out there financially.”

Garland reached out to all of the school districts in the county to see about any additional requests to include in the spending plan.

“Mineral Wells ISD is requesting 10 tables for their lunch period for the junior high and 26 tables for the high school,” she said. “Gordon is requesting chairs and tables as well and it appears to be 24 cafeteria tables and then another six for pre-k and kindergarten,100 chairs and 100 desks. This is all to help with the social distancing in the schools.”

The estimated cost for the MWISD request is $33,266 and the cost for Gordon ISD’s request is about $38,845.

The county had previously helped school districts with the purchase of masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, and Garland said the PPE would be going out to the districts Monday afternoon.

The commissioners court agreed to include the school districts’ additional requests with a $72,111 reduction in the salary request, and the CRF spending plan was unanimously approved.

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