Governor Kevin Stitt today announced that $4.2 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) is being distributed today to 18 city and county governments, including the City of Guthrie, to offset expenses incurred due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City received $40,987.96, which is the sixth largest amount distrusted among the cities and towns. In total, $4.2M in funding was given out, including $2.3M to the City of Ponca City and $1.2M to McAlester.
“Until there is a cure for COVID-19, Oklahoma is adjusting to a new normal, which includes our local government services that are on the frontlines of keeping us safe and assisting our must vulnerable populations,” said Gov. Stitt. “Congress entrusted the State with this critical emergency federal aid, and I appreciate the partnership of local leaders who are participating in our thorough process to ensure we are delivering the dollars on target.”
In May, Governor Stitt established the CARES FORWARD team comprised of cabinet secretaries and experts in finance, auditing, and federal grant writing to provide rigorous oversight and to maximize the distribution of $1.2 billion in CRF federal funds provided by Congress.
“Every city and county that filed reimbursement requests in June are receiving CRF funds after a thorough vetting process with the State,” said Governor Stitt’s Secretary of Budget Mike Mazzei. “CARES FORWARD completed a successful first month of reimbursements thanks to the partnership of cities and counties with submitting thorough documentation and explanations of expenses. We expect for reimbursement requests from cities and counties to significantly increase in the coming months as Oklahoma’s communities await a cure for this novel virus.”
During the first 10 days of every month, cities and counties can submit reimbursement requests to the CARES FORWARD team for CRF dollars to compensate for expenses directly impacted by COVID-19, such as payroll, heightened sanitation services, personal protective equipment, or modification to public services to increase safety measures. CARES FORWARD first began receiving reimbursements in June, with a total of 211 cities and counties registering with the State to be able to seek out CRF support by December 31, 2020.
“The COVID-19 crisis has caused many businesses in our small community to shut down and this year’s new city budget was cut by 30% to prepare for the future, if the crisis continues,” said Nancy Skipper, City Clerk of City of Tonkawa. “We are hopeful that the CARES FORWARD funding will help support and sustain our city services through these uncertain times. On behalf of the City of Tonkawa, we are very thankful for this funding and for the State of Oklahoma offering this portal and the CARES FORWARD team to help all the communities in Oklahoma navigate the federal funding. The Governor’s team has been very proactive in communicating with us and explaining the process.”
“We utilized the State’s portal to submit a request for reimbursement for expenses incurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The State’s instructions for how to use the portal were very clear, the portal was very straightforward and easy to use, and the follow-up communication was prompt and professional,” said Rashel Carnefix, City Clerk of City of Perkins. “We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in helping small towns such as Perkins to receive funding available through the CARES Act.”
“As we found ourselves in need of CARES Act funding due to the impact of COVID-19, I was impressed by the abundance of professional teamwork by the State and Governor’s team,” said Carrie Tubbs, County Clerk of Comanche County. “I would also like to commend the CARES Act team for prompt communication whenever the need arose.”