The Oklahoma County Jail Trust voted to officially accept more than $34 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds Monday.
That's on top of $3 million already approved for hazard pay for jail employees and $3 million to address plumbing and air conditioning issues, for a total of more than $40 million in federal CARES Act funds now in jail trust coffers.
The vote was 7 to 2 with Trustee Francie Ekwerekwu and Sheriff P.D. Taylor’s representative, Danny Honeycutt, voting no.
One of the repeated concerns voiced during public comment was a concern the trust was moving to accept the funds without knowing how it will be spent.
“I believe Mr. Williams does have an extensive list and he's been working on the list,” Jail Trust Chairwoman Tricia Everest said.
A motion by Ekwerekwu to hold off on accepting the funds until a detail list could be provided failed 3 to 6 with Ekwerekwu, Honeycutt and Everest voting in favor.
Everest said jail administrator Greg Williams will have a list of ways that money will be spent by the trust's meeting next month.
“We are holding the funds and from my perspective, the sooner we identify how we can or cannot use them and then return them to the county or work with our county partners with them the better,” Everest said.
Federal CARES Act funds must be used by December 30, 2020.