Hidalgo County divides $151 million among 22 cities for COVID-19 costs


EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — Good news for those in Hidalgo County hurt by the economic impacts of COVID-19. 

More than $151 million is already in Hidalgo County’s hands as part of the federally funded CARES Act.

Hidalgo County says they are keeping $88-million for county costs and giving the other $63 million to the 22 municipalities. The decision came after city mayors of the five largest cities within the county spoke out at Commissioner’s Court, Tuesday morning, saying the money needed to be shared. 

“The cities of Edinburg, McAllen, Mission and Pharr make up 50% of the county’s population, right at about 407,000 people and I’m here today to ask you to at least consider the larger cities at $174.49 per capita,” said Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina. 

He wasn’t the only mayor who waited in public forum and showed up to the meeting to speak. 

“On March the 13, I declared the City of Mission a major disaster and declaration, Mission has not been the same since then and The City of Mission has a health department, however, our health department was not ready for this virus, but this funding will help us revamp it and get us prepared for viruses like COVID-19″,” said Dr. Armando Ocana, Mission Mayor. 

The funding will be spread out among 22 cities based on population. 

The money will be available on a reimbursement basis at a rate of $110 per capita to cities with a population of greater than 30,000 people. 

For smaller Hidalgo County municipalities, with populations of less than 30,000, the money will be made available at a rate of $80 per capita.

“This is a good allocation of the funds that we have that will go towards helping us during these difficult times,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said after the 4-to-1 vote. “We trust that the cities will do the right thing and use some of these monies as grants for small businesses as we would have done – and as we intend to do in rural parts of the county and small cities.”

Judge Cortez says it will be used to benefit the residents. 

“I want to get this money to the hands of people and small businesses as fast as we can,” said Cortez. 
Some residents can apply for grants to get some of that money, soon. 

The funding will also go to improving the health system within the county. 

“We want to make sure we have our own laboratory because it was taking 4 days to get tested and then receive results, we want to have our own testing supplies, our own personal protection equipment and a forensic center,” said Cortez. 

County Judge Cortez says he also wants to get some of the money over the school districts as well. Overall, Texas was granted $11.2 billion to go to Texas counties from the Federal Government’s CARES Act.  

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