Thursday, October 1st 2020, 3:35 pm
By: Karl Torp
Oklahoma City’s share of CARES Act money arrived months ago, but now, Oklahoma City residents are getting a better of idea of how it all will be spent.
Some of the money has already been spoken for as the city is being reimbursed for expenses related to the pandemic.
“A lot of the expenses that were unbudgeted for us to just keep people out doing their jobs and staying healthy was a priority for the city,” said Assistant City Manager Aubrey McDermid.
The city is putting its $114.3 million into three categories.
Approximately $50 million will go toward Oklahoma City’s response to the pandemic. This includes PPE for first responders, sanitization and even Zoom upgrades.
Approximately $42.5 million goes toward community support.
“The funding that we have been seeing go out the door is the stabilization of people in housing crisis right now,” McDermid said.
Approximately $21.7 million will go toward testing and training.
This week, the City Council approved a $500,000 program to track COVID in the city’s sewer system.
Similar waste water testing programs are being done on college campuses.
”This is way the city can track certain levels of COVID-19 in the city so we can see we are see where outbreaks are occurring and respond quicker,” said McDermid.
McDermid said what’s known about COVID is changing and the city’s CARES Act earmarks could change, too.
This week, another $9 million was put into the Small Business Continuity Program in an effort to keep more local business afloat.
McDermid said they are flexible to set aside CARES Act money to buy doses of a COVID vaccine if a vaccine becomes available by the end of the year.