OKLAHOMA CITY (May 20, 2020)— Governor Kevin Stitt today joined Mayor of Lawton Stan Booker and Cleveland County Commissioner Rod Cleveland in announcing the launch of an online platform to help facilitate the process for Oklahoma cities and counties seeking to apply for reimbursement through the $1.2 billion in federal funds provided to Oklahoma under the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
“Our mission is to maximize all federal dollars available during this unprecedented time and to ensure this money is spent with integrity on COVID-19 related expenses, emergencies and pandemic preparedness,” said Gov. Stitt. “These CARES Act dollars will allow us to recover from COVID-19, rebuild our economy, ensure we are prepared for what may come in the future and help us carry out our vision of becoming a Top Ten state.”
The new web-based platform allows the State to effectively and transparently process reimbursement requests and deploy funds to communities in need of financial relief from COVID-19 related expenses.
All cities and counties who have COVID-19 related expenses are asked to set up an account at [governor.ok.gov/crfgrants]governor.ok.gov/crfgrants in order to submit reimbursement requests and carefully review the guidance issued by the U.S. Treasury.
“The members of our federal delegation have worked tirelessly to secure this funding for Oklahomans, and we are so thankful for all they are doing in Washington D.C.,” said Gov Stitt. “Congress awarded this money to the states with the expectation that governors would work with local communities to ensure these dollars were distributed quickly and on target.”
To be eligible, expenses must have been caused due to the COVID-19 emergency, must have occurred between March 1 and December 30 of this year and cannot have been in the budget as of the end of March.
Once cities and counties submit their information, the State will follow up with a confirmation e-mail and provide additional training support for the new platform.
The State’s goal is to formally begin processing requests from cities and counties for funding by June 1.
“From the onset of COVID-19, Governor Stitt has been very sensitive and responsive to the needs and challenges our Oklahoma cities and towns are experiencing. He continues to ensure that communication between his office and our municipalities remains open and strong. As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, we are very pleased that the Governor and his staff are ensuring our municipalities will have access to CARES Act funding which will help to cover their cost of providing additional public services during these unprecedented times. OML will continue to work with and encourage our Oklahoma municipalities to gather their expense information and be ready to submit them for reimbursement as soon as possible.” – Mike Fina, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Municipal League
“The State has said they are committed to reviewing our requests and getting funding deployed as quickly as possible. We were very grateful to hear this today, and we appreciate Governor Stitt’s leadership to ensure the State delivers on its promises.” – Stan Booker, Mayor of Lawton
“I appreciate the Governor’s commitment today to help us continue to recover, move forward, and to remain vigilant in protecting our citizens and healthcare infrastructure.” – Rod Cleveland, Cleveland County Commissioner
In order to provide transparency and accountability in the distribution of CARES Act funds, the Stitt Administration has also launched a new page on Oklahoma’s Online Checkbook where the latest CRF reimbursements will be posted daily.
Last week the governor announced a bi-partisan legislative advisory group to work with the Stitt Administration to effectively distribute the federal funds provided under the CARES Act. The governor has also formed the CARES FORWARD Team that includes experts from every major sector that has been affected by COVID-19.
This team will play a critical role in maximizing the opportunities for investing federal dollars in relief and forward planning and ensuring this funding is spent in compliance with the law and the guidance provided by the U.S. Treasury.