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Stitt Administration Opening Online Portal for Cities, Counties to Apply for COVID-19 Relief Funds

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Oklahoma cities and counties can apply for federal coronavirus relief funds through an online portal starting June 1.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that will be the method for them to be reimbursed for eligible COVID-19 expenses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which Oklahoma received $1.2 billion from.

"We have that split up between the municipalities, between our state agencies, but we anticipate — we don’t know yet exactly, that’s why we’re setting this portal up right now — how many are going to come in, but from what we’ve initially kind of targeted, we think we’re going to be able to reimburse all COVID-related expenses to the municipalities," Stitt said.

Lawton Mayor Stan Booker said it’s hard to cover COVID-19 expenses without help, especially with a dip in sales tax collections amid the economic slump accompanying the pandemic.

"Probably some of the biggest examples of expenses that we’ve had has been an increase in overtime related to first responders as well as the expenses for PPE," Booker said.

The application timeline would have funds going out starting mid-June. Cities and counties with more than 500,000 people, like Tulsa County, already got CARES Act funding directly from the federal government.

Stitt recently convened an advisory committee to help plan distribution of Oklahoma’s CARES Act funding. He said their goal is to maximize federal dollars and spend them with integrity.

CARES Act spending and disbursements will be posted daily on Oklahoma's Checkbook. Lawmakers included that requirement in their renewal of Stitt's catastrophic health emergency.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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