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story.lead_photo.caption Texarkana, Texas, City Council

TEXARKANA, Texas — During a meeting Tuesday, the City Council will vote on amending the city budget to reflect recently received grants related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A trio of ordinances is necessary to account for grants totaling more than $390,000, which are expected to be spent this fiscal year. The Council approved the proposed uses for the funds during its April 27 meeting.

The city's Community Development Block Grant plan will have an extra $195,000 available. Another $23,921 will be used to cover administrative costs. Community Development Block Grants are a common way for local governments to fund services and infrastructure improvements.

Mission Texarkana, which provides services to the local homeless population, will receive $30,000. Randy Sams' Outreach Shelter will receive $50,000, the Salvation Army $30,000 and Texarkana Homeless Coalition $5,000. The Texarkana COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center and Health Department together will receive $80,000.

The city received the funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act passed to provide a wide range of pandemic-related financial relief. Community Development Block Grants are a common way for local governments to fund services and infrastructure improvements.

The Department of Justice also awarded the city a grant of more than $83,000, which will go into its own fund in the budget.

The Council will hear a first briefing on awarding $510,000 in loans and grants to Texarkana Renewal Properties.

The local developers plan to rehabilitate the former Texarkana National Bank building at West Broad Street and North State Line Avenue, as well as the building's parking garage a block away. A vote on the measure is expected June 8.

The funding package would include an EPA Brownfields Cleanup loan of $400,000. City Facade Program loans would provide another $50,000 for the building and $50,000 for the garage.

The EPA loan would have a 12-year term, and the Facade Program loan a 10-year term. Both would feature no interest the first year, interest-only payments in years two and three, and principle and interest due in subsequent years. The interest rates would be set at the 10-year treasury rate plus 1%.

City Facade grants of $5,000 for the building and $5,000 for the garage also would be awarded.

The Council will also meet in executive session and then vote on reappointing Sherry Jackson as municipal court judge.

Also on the agenda are a number of first briefings on various zoning and permitting matters.

The meeting will be held in person at City Hall, 220 Texas Blvd. Citizens can attend or participate via the Zoom online meetings app.

Those wishing to use Zoom must visit the city's website, www.ci.texarkana.tx.us, and follow the link labeled Remote Access to City Council Meeting to register. The deadline for registration is noon Tuesday.

Citizens may submit comments to be read during the meeting's open forum by emailing them to [email protected] by noon Tuesday.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday and will be live streamed via internet as usual.

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