301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

11.10.20 – okcfox.com – Oklahoma City, Okla

Oklahoma County CARES Act funding to go to COVID-19 small business relief.

The County Jail Trust is giving back some of the CARES Act dollars that were originally allocated for improvements inside the jail.

A significant fraction of the counties available CARES Act money was set to go to the County Jail to meet immediate health needs there, but many community members were greatly concerned with that decision, saying that money should have gone to help individuals and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Tuesday, the County Budget Board voted to take around $15 million back to go toward a COVID-19 response program to help small businesses.

That’s after the jail trust said they didn’t need all of the money originally allocated to them.ADVERTISING

“So, it will help businesses directly within the next couple of weeks,” said Carrie Blumert, the District 1 Commissioner who requested the items for the meeting.

She said businesses with less than 100 employees will soon be able to apply for the program through the Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA).

“Edmond, Luther, Warr Acres, Choctaw, so all of those smaller communities – they can apply – the application is obviously not ready yet because it still has go to a vote of the commissioners, but they will get to apply for funds up to one hundred thousand dollars,” Blumert explained.

While around 30 community members showed up ready to advocate for the money being put back into the county, they said they left feeling like their voices had been heard.

“Today, democracy prevailed,” said Steven Butler, a community member, “People who probably wouldn’t have voted for us and didn’t vote for us in the past, voted for us today.”

Board Chairman, Kevin Calvey is the only member to have voted no on both measures.

He did not make himself available for comment after the meeting was over.