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Hays County hires outside manager to run Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Earlier this week, the County announced that the program is losing $1.7 million after failing to give out enough money.

AUSTIN, Texas — Hays County has hired a new program manager to take over its Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program, according to a report from KVUE's media partners at the Austin American-Statesman

The Statesman reports that Hays County commissioners awarded a contract to Ardurra Group Inc. The final cost of the contract was not immediately clear, but County staffers were expected to negotiate the terms this week, according to the report.

This was Hays County's second time soliciting bids for ERA Program management, according to the Statesman. After receiving a $6.9 million grant to help residents with rent and utility bills last year, the County solicited bids from third parties for management of the program. 

However, County officials and the ERA Program's previous manager, Wesley Matthews, said those proposals were costly. The County instead decided to proceed with an internal management team. 

RELATED: Hays County losing $1.7 million in federal rental assistance

This week's decision to hire an external manager comes just days after Hays County announced the ERA Program is losing $1.7 million of the $6.9 million grant after failing to give out enough money. That is in addition to the $772,791 the U.S. Treasury Department already recaptured last year because the County hadn't met the milestone for distribution. 

The Statesman reports that Tammy Crumley, the executive director for Hays County's Grants Administration Department, said Tuesday that the County has had issues keeping the four-member office fully staffed.

In December, Matthews had submitted a proposal to the County that would increase the staff by six more full-time employees at a cost of $64,205 over a four-month period, according to the Statesman. That request was denied.

The Statesman reports that, according to a budget performance report as of Jan. 31, Hays County budgeted $325,000 for staff salaries and has spent about $73,000, leaving more than $251,000 available to use for staffing. 

As of Friday, Hays County had distributed $1.2 million to landlords, utility companies and hotels, according to the Statesman. On Tuesday, commissioners authorized about $259,000 more for disbursement.

Read the Statesman's full report.


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