Editorial: Oklahoma use of federal COIVD-19 reduction cash included unwise, low precedence tasks | Editorial

Was it wise to spend $ 2 million on a marketing campaign with Stitt to lure tourists to the state when Oklahoma had a terrifying COVID-19 infection rate and Washington health officials discouraged unnecessary travel?

Was it wise to spend $ 250,000 to lure the Cattlemen’s Congress to the Oklahoma City Exhibition Center a few months after the Oklahoma State Fair was canceled because it couldn’t be held safely?

Was it a judicious use of taxpayer money to prepay $ 2.1 million for 1.2 million masks from a company that failed to deliver the goods?

Was buying $ 2 million worth of hydroxychloroquine, a drug hyped by former President Donald Trump but found ineffective against COVID-19, good business? If so, why is the state now trying to return all drugs?

The federal government gave a tremendous amount of money to Stitt’s office to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis, and much of that money – probably most of it – was being spent exactly as it should have been around the people and organizations that were Put down to bring relief from illness.

Some of that spending was disorganized at times, and none of it had the kind of legal scrutiny that is the hallmark of good government, but the blame lies with Congress, not Stitt.

Even so, there is much to be asked about how some of the aid was spent and we have not yet received a reasonable answer.

Gov. Reynolds proclaims extra assist by Iowa’s COIVD-19 reduction cash

DES MOINES, Iowa (WOWT) – On Thursday, Governor Kim Reynolds announced additional support from the Iowa COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Governor Reynolds announced that $ 17 million in COVID-19 aid funds will be distributed to provide direct costs to local governments in response to COVID-19.

“In many ways, COVID-19 has changed the way government serves its citizens, and perhaps the biggest impact has been at the local level. These resources will provide additional support to the county and city governments to provide vital services to Iowans in further fighting the pandemic, “said Governor Reynolds. “I appreciate the unprecedented collaboration we’ve seen at the state, county, and city levels, including the incredible teams from the Iowa State Association of Counties and the Iowa League of Cities.”

About $ 4.7 of the $ 17 million relief fund was distributed to smaller cities. Officials say it should make it easier to manage the distribution and will be reassigned to the county where the city lives.

The Local Government Relief Fund Program Document breaks up the funds of each county. These include Pottawattamie, Polk, Mills and many more.

The governor also distributed $ 125 million in August 2020 to reimburse local governments for the direct cost of paid expenses for COVIV-19.

Officials explain the redistribution of the $ 17 million:

In accordance with US Treasury Department guidelines, funds may only be used to cover costs that:

  • Are necessary expenditures required due to the public health emergency related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
  • Not included in the budget last approved for the government agency on March 27, 2020;
  • Were incurred in the period beginning March 1, 2020 and ending December 30, 2020; and
  • Have not been reimbursed or if reimbursement has not been requested from any other funding source, including but not limited to other federal programs.

Necessary expenses include:

  • Acquisition and distribution of personal protective equipment and disinfection products
  • Test devices and accessories (test kits)
  • Fans
  • Other necessary COVID-19 medical supplies and equipment

Other related necessary expenses

  • Temporary isolation or quarantine points
  • Medical transportation
  • Expenditures for the renovation of public areas and other public facilities
  • Temporary emergency staff and overtime costs for staff mainly dedicated to mitigation or response to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Wage and salary costs for public health and public safety workers for public health mitigation or response services to the COVID-19 emergency
  • For ease of administration, given the contingency nature of this program, assume that 50% of the wages and salaries for public health workers and 50% of the wages and salaries for public safety workers are payments for services that are essentially mitigation or responding to the program will serve a COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Equipment for holding meetings by telephone or electronic means
  • Software or technology infrastructure to enable the delivery of local services with social distancing
  • Additional costs associated with advanced 211 functions

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