county covid update

Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer updates the board of Woodward County Commissioners on CARES Act funding available and the recent rise in covid cases at the meeting Monday morning. (Photo by Dawnita Fogleman)

Woodward County may be the only county in Oklahoma not to take the full half a million dollar CARES Act funding available.

Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer updated the board of Woodward County Commissioners on the funding and on the recent rise in covid cases Monday morning. Five of the new cases are in the Mooreland area, 21 in the Fort Supply area and 27 in Woodward.

“Our health department, this is as of yesterday, reported 150 cases in Woodward County. Reporting 48 active,” Lehenbauer said. “There's five more cases than we actually have in the county. That's overlap into other counties.”

So far, Woodward County has submitted $68,031.91 for CARES Act funding so far, according to Lehenbauer.

“When we submit these, we've only been submitting what's clear on the rules,” Lehenbauer said. “I do a review with the rules and line-item everything.”

The County’s balance for total eligibility is $493,000 but the board is being very wary of turning in much more unless each expense has clear documentation.

“There's contradictory parts,” Lehenbauer cautioned. “There’s confusion there, we're not the only county that’s confused on this… There's too much gray area to be comfortable. A lot of it’s semantics.”

District Attorney Christopher M. Boring urged caution saying, the rules for applying are not real clear.

“I've got some concerns… I would just expect that we have to reimburse the money, if the federal government comes in here… in three or four years,” Boring said. “I doubt that it’s going to be a state auditor that comes in audits this in two or three years. It’s going to be a federal auditor.”

Lehenbauer said he’d like to have direct verification from Gov. Stitt’s office in written documented clarification for the state auditor to review.

“I think that for possibly political reasons this was wrote very vaguely,” Lehenbauer said. “A lot of these laws are done that way so you can take your own interpretation.”

District 2 Commissioner Randy Johnson agreed the money needs to be captured, but in such a way that doesn’t come back to haunt the county later.

The resolution concerning funding pursuant to the CARES Act and the coronavirus relief fund was tabled for clarification.

In addition to regular business, the board also tabled disposal of a 1972 Chevy water truck located at the Woodward County Landfill.

“Before the landfill was a trust authority, it was Woodward County,” Johnson said. “When it became a trust authority, this never got transferred over. This is still in the name of the Board of County Commissioners.”

It was decided the board needs to pass a resolution for the declaration of surplus for the truck, which they will do at a later date.

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COVID UPDATE: As of Monday afternoon, the state health department showed 159 cases in Woodward County with 58 active. Of those, 102 were in Woodward with 37 active, 29 in Mooreland with 7 active and 22 in Fort Supply with 21 active.

Statewide there are more than 10,000 active cases.

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