After months of back and forth, millions in federal COVID-19 relief dollars are now moving toward helping Oklahoma County small businesses.
It comes after the Oklahoma County Jail Trust said it couldn’t spend all the money it received earlier in the year.
“Monday, I was ready to give up,” County Commissioner Carrie Blumert said. “I really didn’t have a lot of hope that we would get this money out into the community, and I’m really glad that we stuck with it.”
In a 7-1 vote, the county budget board approved sending $15 Million in CARES Act funds to a small business relief program. The funds are intended for small businesses in Oklahoma County but outside Oklahoma City limits where funds are already available.
“It’ll probably be for businesses with 100 employees or less and they can apply for funds up to $100,000.” Blumert said.
Blumert said the county program fills holes left by the city. The same bank that operates the city fund will take on county grants.
“When the city opened their application, they had 300 businesses who they had to turn away because they were not within the boundaries of Oklahoma City, so we feel like day one we could serve up to 300 businesses,” she said.
The clock is ticking however, all federal CARES Act funds must be spent by the end of the year.
The plan still must pass a vote of the county commission Monday. All three Oklahoma County Commissioners sit on the budget board. Blumert and Brian Maughan voted in favor of the program., Kevin Calvey voted against the small business relief plan.
News 9 reached out to Calvey, but he was unavailable for an interview Thursday.
Blumert said once the commission approves the program, a website will be created for business owners to apply. She said checks then could be distributed in a matter of weeks.