Meeting needs of the city’s most vulnerable population during the coronavirus pandemic, Pearsall city officials agreed Monday, May 4, to award two local businesses contracts for a meal program to feed the elderly and disabled.
Three businesses had replied to a request for proposals that was advertised for a week. Councilors initially proposed awarding the entire $25,000 contract to the Mi Casa restaurant. The business had earned 94 points in a scoring system established by the city.
“Mi Casa was awarded the most points, so congratulations Mi Casa,” Mayor Mary Moore said.
Councilor Roland Segovia said the project by City Hall was intended to pay four vendors, not just one.
“The way I structured this is we would award vendors for the first week because the amount of plates going out is five hundred a day,” Segovia said. The councilor added that the proposal asked for 250 plates to be served a day for seven days.
“But if we do that, how are we going to determine who is getting what?” Councilor Julian Hernandez asked at the meeting. He said he is concerned that some members of the community would receive the same type of food daily.
“I have a master list here,” Segovia said. “One day they get [food from] Brisketman, the other day they get Mi Casa.”
Beginning at 3 p.m. on May 15, a meal will be delivered by volunteers daily to those who are on Segovia’s list.
As of this week, City Hall has confirmed its staff do not have access to the list.
“I think since Mi Casa got the highest bid, we should ask them if they can handle all 500 plates,” Councilor Brenda Trevino said. “If they do not want to, or cannot, then we can ask Brisketman.”
“I think what Roland has proposed to these restaurants and what these restaurants have is an understanding that they are going to share,” Councilor Davina Rodriguez said. “Mi Casa knows they were going to serve for so many days; Brisketman knows they were going to serve for so many days.”
Segovia sought legal advice in the request for additional funding for the program after learning monies would not cover the 600 plates needed per day.
“We are close to being short one hundred plates,” Segovia said. “Because people are calling me, and yes, they do qualify. How can I ask for funds, as a city council member, ask for funds to be contributed to the restaurant?”
Bobby Maldonado, legal counsel for the city, directed councilors to have that discussion at a later date as it was ‘not on the agenda.’
Segovia added a pay schedule to his motion to approve awarding the contracts to Mi Casa and Brisketman.
“The purpose of this project was to generate the economy,” the councilor said. “The first payment is to be made the week after the food is delivered; the final [payment] is after the project is complete, which is on June 1.”
An anonymous donor made a $50,000 donation to a church alliance last month to provide meals to the elderly and disabled in Frio County. The program, according to event organizers, had served nearly 20,000 meals as of Friday, May 8.
“That is around seven hundred meals a day,” Brother Brian Blackburn, who spearheaded the program, said. “We delivered approximately three hundred and fifty breakfasts and three hundred and fifty lunches per day.”