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Oklahoma County Budget Board Votes To Allocate Some CARES Funds For Small Businesses

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The Oklahoma County Budget Board meets on November 10, 2020.

The budget board that reviews spending items for Oklahoma County’s board of commissioners wants the county to take back more than $25 million in federal coronavirus relief funds it originally transferred to its jail trust.

On Tuesday, the board also voted for $15 million of that money to be used to help Oklahoma County businesses, nonprofits and other organizations that were hurt by the pandemic.

The jail trust voted to return the money last week after months of protests against the decision to spend most of the county’s CARES Act money on the local jail.

The budget board made its decision after declining a motion by County Commissioner Kevin Calvey to postpone the vote. Calvey argued that the federal government would eventually extend the deadline to spend the relief funds.

County Commissioner Carrie Blumert opposed that motion. She said there was no guarantee the December 30 deadline would be extended.

According to the Oklahoma Industries Authority, which the county will trust to distribute the CARES Act funds, more than 300 organizations inside the county have applied for COVID-19 relief.

It is now up to the Board of County Commissioners whether to accept the budget board’s decisions at their next meeting on November 16.

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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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