Council clears path for CARES Act funds

September 15, 2020

The City Council took action earlier this month that will clear the way for the City of Bartlesville to accept federal funds allocated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act is a $2.2 trillion federal stimulus bill signed into law in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The stimulus package provides municipalities with funds to help recoup expenses incurred since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and to assist with preparations to help reduce spread of the virus in the future. Grant funds for the state will be administered through the State of Oklahoma, which will allocate funding based on population.

“For Bartlesville, that amounts to a substantial amount of money — about $2.8 million,” said City Manager Mike Bailey.

The funding, while qualified by the federal government based on public safety and health, is unrestricted and can be used for any purpose, Bailey said.

“Because it’s a reimbursement of expenses, the money we receive doesn’t have to be specifically laid out for any purpose,” he said. “Staff has taken a look at this by asking, ‘What was it that we weren’t able to accomplish in the budget that was a priority that these funds would allow us to do?'”

Once appropriation of the funds has been determined, staff will return to the council and discuss in detail the plan for the use of these funds, Bailey said.

“The federal government has advised local governments that this is probably all the funding we will receive as a result of the pandemic,” he said. “So even if there is additional CARES Act money or an additional stimulus package, we should not expect to see anything from it.”

City staff expects the funds will be received WHEN.