Oklahoma Co. small business owners celebrate CARES Act money reallocation

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DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Many Oklahoma County business owners are breathing a sigh of relief after the Oklahoma County Budget Board allocated millions in CARES Act funds to a program to help struggling businesses and organizations.

“My specialty is the brisket loaded baked potato and the steak nacho,” Steven Butler, owner of The Green Room Soulfood and Steakhouse, told News 4. 

Butler’s dream of running his own restaurant became a reality when he opened his business in Del City last year. 

“Normally, these would be filled with food,” Butler said. “These two rooms are filled with things that we’re prepping to take out of here.”

He’s prepping for closure after being served an eviction notice on Monday. 

Then on Tuesday, Butler brought that notice to a special Oklahoma County Budget Board meeting. 

“This is what an eviction notice looks like on a business. I got served that yesterday. I did everything I could,” he said, showing the board the notice during public comment. 

Minutes later, the room erupting in cheers from citizens attending the meeting after the budget board voted 7-1, with only Commissioner Kevin Calvey voting no, to allocate $15 million of the county’s CARES Act funds to a program to help businesses and organizations struggling during the pandemic. 

Those dollars were originally allocated to the jail trust and were sent back to the county because the trust felt they couldn’t spend it all, $25 million to be exact, by the December 30th CARES Act spending deadline. 

“We worked really, really hard to get to this point and to get this passed,” Commissioner Carrie Blumert, District 1, told News 4 Monday. 

Steven Butler with daughter

Working hard to get it passed, so people like Butler could feel some relief during a financially difficult time. 

“COVID shut my business down completely for a while and then when we opened it back up, there just wasn’t business,” Butler said. 

He’s hoping to get some of those CARES dollars, which will come in the form of a grant, but with an eviction hearing on the 16th and a daughter in college with tuition that needs to be paid, the clock is ticking. 

“It’s hard to tell my baby, come on home baby, we’ll try it again. That’s college, that’s not the store,” said Butler. “I didn’t send her to the store, I sent her to college.”

The county commissioners still have to vote to approve the program at their meeting on Monday.  If it passes, the Oklahoma Industries Authority will likely create a website for business owners and organizations to apply.

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