OKEECHOBEE – CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funding for Okeechobee County should be released soon.
“We have been working on this for 75 days,” said Okeechobee County Commission Chair Terry Burroughs at the June 11 county commission meeting.
“Yesterday the governor released the money to 55 counties,” he explained. “Hopefully by tomorrow, we will have the allocation of those dollars.”
Federal funding from the CARES Act was allocated to Florida more than two months ago. Twelve Florida counties with populations greater than 500,000 — Brevard, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Orange and Volusia — received $2.47 billion in direct payments from the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the CARES Act, in March.
The other 55 counties have been waiting for their share of the remaining $1.275 billion.
Chairman Burroughs said he and the county administrator will sit down with the attorney to go through the guidelines from the Treasury Department.
“We’re going to have to figure out exactly how to manage the money through the U.S. Treasury guidelines,” he explained. He said the county will allocate money for COVID-19 related expenses for the courthouse and county offices. Some of the money may also be used for business development grants.
“If the cities want part of this money, it is on a reimbursable process,” Chairman Burroughs explained. “They have to put together a plan. They have to spend the money and they have to apply for reimbursement.
“We have to provide an opportunity for the city to have some of this money if they have reimbursable expenses,” he said.
“If we are going to do money for the businesses, it should be county-wide,” said Commissioner David Hazellief.