Township Chairman Bunch criticizes Montgomery County government for failure to reimburse COVID-related law enforcement, fire department expenses

Township Chairman Bunch criticizes Montgomery County government for failure to reimburse COVID-related law enforcement, fire department expenses

Image: Woodlands Township Board Chairman Gordy Bunch piercingly criticized the Montgomery County government for its failures to reimburse the Woodlands Township for COVID-related law enforcement and fire department expenses during the pandemic in an exclusive interview with The Golden Hammer.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

The Woodlands, April 20 – Woodlands Township Board Chairman Gordy Bunch criticized the Montgomery County government for failing to reimburse the Township for COVID-related law enforcement and fire department expenses during the pandemic during an exclusive interview with The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper.

Bunch explained, “Between CARES Act, $105,000,000.00, and ARPA, $118,000,000.00, Montgomery County has received approximately $223,000.000.00 and has only passed on $244,199.42 to The Woodlands. Montgomery County is choosing not to fund The Woodlands’ eligible COVID related expenses, because no one forced them to, instead of honoring the legislative intent and doing the right thing.”

After the State of Texas made clear to the Township and other municipalities that they would be eligible for substantial funds from the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act stimulus legislation, the Township certainly made the effort to receive substantial funding from the federal and state governments, especially through the funds distributed to the Montgomery County government for further local distribution. The correspondence shown at the bottom of this article displays many of those efforts.

Montgomery County, however, is a unique County government. As County Judge Mark Keough has said, “Montgomery County’s government is known across Texas as the most corrupt County government in Texas.” Of course, me made those comments in February, 2018, before he won election as County Judge. The County governmnt has become more secretive, more opaque, and far more prone to wasteful spending than it ever was before Keough came into office.

Bunch told this newspaper, “The Woodlands Township did submit to Texas and Montgomery County for our CARES Act funding. The Woodlands Fire Department’s Direct COVID related expenses of $5,804,176.26 remain unreimbursed by Texas and Montgomery County.”

What seemed particularly frustrating to Bunch was that COVID-related reimbursements for which the Township applied related to law enforcement were the same as reimbursements the County government paid itself out of the CARES Act funds. Bunch said, “It is also noteworthy that Montgomery County chose to reimburse themselves for Law Enforcement expenses but chose not to apply the same reimbursement for The Woodlands Township’s Montgomery County Sheriff Deputies that incurred the same expenses. The Woodlands Township funds over $10,000,000.00 a year for Montgomery County Patrol services out of our Township budget. All 92 Patrol deputies in The Woodlands are funded by TWT budget and none of our directly relate LE expenses were reimbursed either. What is different about our Patrol Deputies and The Woodlands Fire Department that makes our first responders ineligible or carved out of funding from Moco? Especiialy odd when MoCo is the provider for the LE expenses and deemed these eligible for themselves only.”

Bunch has a good point. It’s another illustration that whatever government does, it does poorly, outside of law enforcement and national defense.

The correspondence Bunch provided to The Golden Hammer follows.

May 11, 2020, letter from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state leaders about CARES Act funding, page 1.

 

May 11, 2020, letter from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state leaders about CARES Act funding, page 2.

 

May 11, 2020, letter from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state leaders about CARES Act funding, page 3.

 

Letter from State Senator Brandon Creighton, May 12, 2020, page 1.

 

Letter from State Senator Brandon Creighton, May 12, 2020, page 2.

 

October 25, 2021, letter from United States Congressman Kevin Brady and United States Senator John Cornyn, page 1.

 

October 25, 2021, letter from United States Congressman Kevin Brady and United States Senator John Cornyn, page 2.

 

March 31, 2021, slide presented to the Woodlands Township Board showing distribution of CARES Act funds in 12 most populous counties in Texas.

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