Sunday, March 10, 2013
Shenanigans: Webb County's at it again
From the Laredo Morning Times
Webb County is scrambling to find $400,000 after a grant they were expecting to be approved fell through.
The county was seeking a state-administered grant for its Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program. The funds, dispersed by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, or TDHCA, were intended to assist low-income families in the payment of utilities and to provide energy efficiency education to the community at-large.
The amount of money the county expected to receive from the 2010 grant was around $500,000. Based on those expectations, the county had spent $400,000 on energy assistance and efficiency education by the time the grant was refused by the state agency.
Webb County Auditor Leo Flores revealed the budget shortfall on Wednesday at the monthly board of district judges meeting.
In a letter dated Jan. 16, TDHCA formally denied the county’s request for reimbursement.
Since the Jan. 16 letter, all county programs associated with the grant have been suspended indefinitely.
To appeal the rejection, Webb County Judge Danny Valdez and county Economic Development Director Hector Vargas spoke Friday with Michael DeYoung, deputy director of customer service for TDHCA.
Valdez said it was a blow to learn the county would not be reimbursed.
“We didn’t do it right and we got in trouble; this time we did it right and we still got in trouble,” Valdez said, referring to Webb County grants that the state de-obligated in 2010 following the mismanagement of the Community Action Agency’s weatherization program.
Vargas said discrepancies in correspondence with the state point to TDHCA being at fault in the rejection.