When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the funds were distributed to cities and counties according to population. Every city and county over 500,000 was sent a direct allotment by the Treasury Department. Every city and county under 500,000 had to request its funding from the funds, which the Treasury Department sent to the state directly.
This meant that Tulsa County, with a population over 650,000, got direct funding from the Treasury Department. All of the cities within Tulsa County including the City of Tulsa, which are under 500,000, would receive their CARES funds from the state’s allocation of $1.25 billion.
The original fund sharing guidance provided by the Department of Treasury did not allow the county to share its CARES funds with the cities in the county. Eventually, this was changed to permit it.
With this authorization, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) decided even though cities would get funding from the Governor the county should provide some initial assistance to help the citizens in the cities within the county until the state funding was approved for them.
After funding to the city governments was approved, the BOCC decided that there were five main areas where the CARES funding could provide the most benefits to all Tulsa County citizens living in the cities and unincorporated areas:
• $14 million to help those facing eviction catch up with delinquent rent payments;
• $25 million to small businesses in cities throughout the county so they could remain open and employees could keep their jobs;
• $2 million to the Tulsa City County Health Department’s efforts to test and trace for COVID-19 for all citizens wherever they may live in the county;
• $1 million to support the cities first responders by providing the personal protection equipment (PPE) they needed, like masks, gloves, shields, sanitizers, and disinfectants and to provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Boxes to small businesses which had supplies which would allow them to reopen safety; and
• $5 million to nonprofits to help them deliver increased services needs to those citizens of the county due to the impact of the Coronavirus. This included over $2 million for food and meals.
Since April, the county has provided $47,452,247.17 of support for the citizens in all of the ten (10) cities in Tulsa County.
All of this information and much more on how the county has managed the CARES funds can be found at www.tulsacountycares.org.