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Tulsa County Officials Face Key Differences In Spending New Federal Virus Relief Money


Tulsa County officials are starting to plan for the distribution of funding coming from the $1.9 trillion virus relief package President Joe Biden signed earlier this month.

Board of County Commissioners Chairman Stan Sallee is overseeing Tulsa County's spending of the new aid. He said key differences between this package and 2020’s CARES Act are Tulsa County’s $126 million in American Rescue Plan funds will be delivered in two tranches over two years and proposed spending must be submitted to the federal government first.

"It takes some of the concerns that we had on the first funding of knowing exactly if it meets all the requirements. I mean, there were a lot of gray areas that you just didn’t have the guidance, but as time went on last year, we got more and more guidance. So, it was very helpful. It was just on the front end of it, it was kind of cumbersome at times," Sallee said.

Tulsa County received almost $114 million last year from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. 

County officials have two meetings this week on using the new coronavirus relief funding. One meeting will be with the state’s congressional delegation. The other will be with local organizations about their needs, from struggling businesses to nonprofits trying to help with hunger and housing instability.

"We’re looking at those needs moving forward and also from others as far as retraining individuals that have lost their jobs due to COVID and the pandemic. There’s going to be some new opportunities in different markets that we want to make sure we are able to train these people and get them back into the workforce," Sallee said.

Sallee said the county also has outstanding needs, from the election board to the sheriff’s office. He hopes to submit spending plans for American Rescue Plan funding within 60 days of receiving federal guidance for it.

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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