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Many cities paying thousands for COVID-19 relief efforts

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Posted at 6:27 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 07:27:12-05

BELTON, TX — Local governments in Central Texas didn’t plan on paying for PPE and other COVID-19 relief efforts this year, but they found the money and ways to protect their communities.

“Most of the spending associated with the changes, like Plexiglass, those were nominal cost that we could have absorbed in any budget year,” said Belton Public Information Officer Paul Romer.

Cities like Belton used CARES Act money to give out $300,000 in grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic and more.

They also plan to take 3 cents off their tax rate next year, helping some local homeowners.

“Your house values may have gone up this year but your tax rate has dropped. I think that tax relief is a big deal for people,” said Romer.

Bell County has paid roughly 1.2 million dollars for PPE, Hazard pay for Jailers, housing state inmates and more.

“To-date we're around $400,000 or so for cost associated with housing those state inmates in the county jail,” said Bell County Judge David Blackburn.

Judge Blackburn said they also had to dish out more money for the election.

“Early voting, as well as on election day, a lot of that involved purchasing additional PPE training and some other, that was over $100,000 worth of expenses,” said Judge Blackburn.

Blackburn said they also saw a big dip in revenue, approximately $470,000. He said they’ve received nearly $3 million dollars in the first COVID-19 Relief package and other grants.

He’s hoping that the second $908 billion package Congress is considering gets passed soon.