Claremore city councilors approved a resolution supporting the city's effort to seek a Coronavirus Response Community Development Block Grant.
City of Claremore Director of Planning and Development Andrew Knife Chief said the Oklahoma State Department of Commerce had allocated $8 million of CARES funds for the Small City grant through the Community Development Block Grant program.
“This resolution is to support us going after those allocations,” Knife Chief said. Councilors approved the resolution during their regular meeting Monday night.
Knife Chief said this is the first step to create a package to deliver to CDBG program.
He said the city submitted a letter of interest five to six months ago. The state needed time to determine the application and approval process. The state recently set a February deadline for official applications.
Knife Chief said 18 other cities also submitted a letter of interest, but doesn’t know if all will apply by the February deadline.
He said the city could receive up to $450,000 for reimbursable expenses.
The use of these funds are restricted to utility assistance, medical assistance, mental health assistance, nutrition assistance and transportation.
“This is going to specific programs that are run by the city and run by our partners,” he said.
The funds will be given to the city of Claremore, Grand Lake Mental Health and Pelivan.
Knife Chief said they plan to use the money to catch up on utility payments that are backlogged.
“We waived a lot of fees and waived things that helped ease the burden on the consumer and citizen,” he said.
Knife Chief said one of the partners they identified is Grand Lake Mental Health. Grand Lake Mental Health started a program that provides iPads and data plans to youth so they could continue providing care during the crisis.
Another partner was Pelivan, a company that provides transportation and nutrition assistance.
“They kind of fill the gap between Meals on Wheels and churches,” he said.
Knife Chief said these organizations were willing to help — even though there was no promise of funds.
“This is a way of helping our partners in the community recoup their costs from the COVID activities,” he said.