OKLAHOMA COUNTY (KFOR) – Oklahoma County has until Dec. 30 to spend $10 million in CARES Act funding.
The $10 million is left over after $25 million was sent back to the county by the Jail Trust; $15 million was approved for small businesses.
Over 800 business applied for grants. The demand was so high the application closed early.
Roxanne Foster, who owns Easy Freezy Freezer Meals, says the grant she got was a huge help.
“It’s a life changing amount of money,” she said.
She says it’s a big boost after a difficult year.
“I was starting to think to the future and was worried about whether or not I could continue the business much longer if things stayed this way,” she said.
Erica Gomez, who owns Little Learners Home Daycare and Addi’s SugaShack, says she wasn’t able to get everything done in time before the application closed.
“It’s discouraging. I have three children that I am trying to provide for. I was excited that I could possibly receive some type of help and that I may be able to provide a Christmas for my children this year, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen now,” she said.
Commissioner Carrier Blumert says she thinks there’s a chance that money could still go towards small businesses before the end of the year.
Money that’s not spent by Dec. 30 will go back to the federal government.
“Why would we send money back to the federal government when the need here is so great and 800 businesses applied for funding, so why would we send anything back?” Blumert said.
Commissioner Brian Maughan says the money could go towards improving county buildings.
“We have tried first to meet our obligations as county government that we have to take care of our priorities with the government, not our constituencies, like to fix the buildings that the public enters into, or the jail we incarcerate in,” Maughan said.
Officials say there have been legal questions throughout the process of allocating funds, as well as the deadline.
“Does that mean the check has to have been cut, the good delivered, the contracts completed? And that’s still somewhat up in the air,” County Treasurer Butch Freeman said.
Small business owners say they think the extra money should go to those in the community.
“That needs to go to the people. It absolutely should not be in a Jail Trust fund, that needs to be going to the people in the city who are a part of the city’s economy,” Foster said.
“They should give it to the small businesses that need it. I feel like that’s what the funding was there for in the first place. We have waited, so many businesses are going under,” Gomez said.
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