OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office announced the distribution of $4.2 million in federal COVID-19 relief to 18 cities and counties Friday.
Provided through CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds, the money reimburses government expenses from COVID-19’s impact.
“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 front lines of keeping us safe and assisting our most vulnerable populations,” Stitt said in a press release. “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.”
Ponca City netted $2.3 million in Friday’s disbursement, with McAlester pulling in $1.2 million. The three smallest requesters, the city of Edmond, the city of Marlow and Okfuskee County, all received less than $2,000.
Municipal and county governments can submit requests the first 10 days of each month to the state’s CARES Forward team, a group of Cabinet secretaries and auditors that oversees how the state distributes the $1.2 billion in federal money available.
The funds cover expenses including payroll, heightened sanitation services, personal protective equipment and modification to normal public services for safety measures, according to the news release.
Since the program’s start, 211 cities and counties have registered with the state to receive aid through the end of 2020.
Nancy Skipper, Tonkawa city clerk, said in a news release that the town cut its budget 30% to prepare for the pandemic’s long-term effects as some businesses in town closed down. She said the town, which received $27,796.81, depends on continued support.
“We are hopeful that the CARES Forward funding will help support and sustain our city services through these uncertain times,” Skipper said. “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.”