Commissioners Continue To Deal With Weatherization Issues
The fallout continues at Webb County Commissioners Court today as officials continue to discuss how best to move forward after the State investigation into Weatherization projects in the county. A federal investigation continues as contractors wait to get paid by the County for their work on homes in Webb County. Pro 8 news reporter Patrick Nelson has the story.
Staff from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs met with the Webb County Attorney today to discuss the eligibility of homes treated through the County's Weatherization program. Since the unlawful authorization of County assistance in these projects, contractors still wait to be paid for their efforts. Today County Commissioners called on County Auditor Leo Flores to provide more information on exactly which homes received Weatherization assistance.
"There is a federal investigation. We need to be careful with the way information is disseminated but that should not prevent me from giving the Commissioners Court the information I have in my files. They make a lot of sense when they say they are the governing body. They need the information and I have no right to withhold that."
Flores says he will provide Commissioners with information they have been asking the County Attorney's office for repeatedly. The County Attorney has been hesitant to give information to Commissioners because of the ongoing F.B.I. investigation. Commissioner Jaime Canales says these issues need to be sorted out before his constituents begin to pay the price.
"The sooner we expedite this process, the sooner we'll be ready for the summer, fall, and winter months for people who do deserve to get these services."
The biggest issue facing the County is paying the list of contractors who worked on local homes as part of the project. Judge Danny Valdez says something needs to be done.
"If they did the work, it's legitimate. The homes were eligible. Yhey should get paid. We can't penalize them."
Before the County can release funds to the contractors, the houses need to be approved as eligible for the program so the County can be compensated with federal funding. Some houses may come back as ineligible, but Commissioner Jerry Garza says the County has an insurance policy to help pay the weatherization contractors.
"If you look at our policy, we have coverage for up to 1 million dollars, so we need to look at that to see if we can claim employee dishonesty so we can get some of that money recouped."
Patrick Nelson, pro 8 news.
The Webb County Attorney has reached an agreement with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to begin assessing which homes were eligible for weatherization assistance. Once eligibility is determined the County can begin paying contractors for the work done on those homes.