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County commissioners allocate the last of 389 million dollars in federal COVID relief funds

Paul Flahive
Bexar County Courthouse

Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday allocated the last of 389 million dollars of federal COVID relief under the American Rescue Plan Act.

The pandemic left some people jobless and homeless, devastated small businesses, non-profits and arts organizations. It also exposed holes in local medical and mental health care and drove up domestic violence cases.

Commissioners approved nearly $26 million dollars of the last available funding under the act to help solve problems in those areas and others.

Commissioner Justin Rodriquez said not all who applied qualified or could be helped, but he was proud of how the county allocated the funds.

"These are tough decisions, but I think the court has made some very, very significant investments in our core functions as a county and what our community needs," he said.

Rodriguez said more than 275 million dollars of federal relief was pumped into the community. The rest shored up sagging county revenues or helped county agencies respond to the pandemic.

In other action on Tuesday, commissioners:

  • Approved the creation of two new Special Public Improvement Districts in return for street, drainage and sewer improvements by developers and higher property tax revenues for the county. The 600-million-dollar Briggs II Ranch will be located off of Highway 211 in far West Bexar County. The developers of the 1,300 homes on 384 acres have agreed to extend Grosenbacher Road as part of an agreement with the county. The developers will receive hotel tax, sales tax, and ad valorem tax powers, and in return the county will receive 32 million dollars in property tax revenue over 30 years. Commissioners approved a similar agreement with the developers of Northlake, north of Lake Calaveras off Loop 410, on the Southeast Side. The 480-acre development project with more than 2,000 homes should generate 28 million dollars in property tax revenues for the county over the next 30 years. The project is valued at more than 453 million dollars.
  • Approved a 1.5-million-dollar grant agreement with Crosspoint from the county's opioid lawsuit settlement funds for the building of its Women's Wellness Campus, which will expand the Casa Mia Program that provides substance abuse treatment.
  • Approved an additional 542 thousand dollars in funding for San Antonio Lifetime Recovery which treats adults with substance abuse issues as part of the Alternatives to Incarceration Program. The program seeks to thin the jail population by accepting inmates who volunteer to be helped.
  • Approved $100,000 for Ballet San Antonio for the fiscal year. The money comes from the Venue Project Fund.