Requests for coronavirus grant funds far outweigh availability, records show

Local governments in AACOG region seeking more than $4,166,000 in grant funds

Slightly over $3,000,000 in Coronavirus relief funds will be made available to local governments in the AACOG service area. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Requests from local governments for coronavirus relief funds greatly exceed the amount of money that will be made available to the region, which includes San Antonio and Bexar County, records from the Office of the Governor confirmed on Wednesday.

Entities belonging to the Alamo Area Council of Governments, or AACOG, have requested more than $4.1 million in coronavirus relief funds through the state’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. The program was announced in April.

Slightly more than $3 million has been allocated to AACOG, a political subdivision covering 13 area counties, including Bexar, that helps local governments with planning and coordination.

Requests exceeding available funds likely means that entities will receive only a portion of the funds requested to help offset budget issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Records: Bexar County staff misinformed on coronavirus relief grant

A Defenders investigation earlier this month found that multiple Bexar County employees involved in its grant process were incorrectly told a majority of the funds for this area had already been allocated and that the grant was “first come, first serve.”

The inaccurate information, provided by an AACOG official, prompted the county’s grant coordinator on May 20 to remark in an email that “it seems like there is nothing left.”

Officials from multiple agencies, including Bexar County and the Office of the Governor’s Public Safety Office, which is administering the grant, said the information provided by the AACOG official was false.

Bexar County’s application seeking slightly over $1 million in reimbursements was submitted late last month and formally approved by commissioners on June 2.

The entities in the AACOG region that applied for funds:

  • City of San Antonio, $2,736,293.00
  • Bexar County, $1,024,159.00
  • City of Kerrville, $210,685.40
  • City of Bulverde, $76,377.04
  • City of Poteet, $48,119.00
  • City of Balcones Heights, $24,750.00
  • City of La Vernia, $21,662.00
  • Kendall County, $13,605.95
  • City of Grey Forest, $10,521.22

Wolff’s diatribe

During the June 2 commissioners court meeting, prior to the Defenders investigation being completed, Commissioner Kevin Wolff falsely claimed that this reporter had stated publicly that county staff had waited too long to submit the grant application.

Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff. (KSAT)

The five-minute rant came before the Defenders had done any reporting on the emails between AACOG and the county and while records were still being gathered.

During a tense 10-minute interview with the Defenders immediately following the June 2 meeting, Wolff continued to repeatedly accuse this reporter of “not doing your homework.”

Wolff eventually conceded that the information provided by the AACOG official was a mistake and incorrect.

“Unfortunately, he said that. Unfortunately, you are going down the line of reporting it,” said Wolff.

Commissioner Wolff is a longtime AACOG board member and part of the agency’s executive committee.

An official with the Public Safety Office previously said the coronavirus relief funds would not be dispersed until after the June 15 deadline and after applications had gone through several layers of review.

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.