In 2021, Guilford County government has been trying hard to work more closely with the cities and towns in the county.

On Thursday, March 18, at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board will discuss the “One Guilford” concept that’s being strongly advocated by Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston.

The day before the meeting – on Wednesday, March 17 – Alston sent out a letter addressing how funds from the new $1.9 trillion federal stimulus/relief bill could be used to bring the local governments in Guilford County closer together.

Alston told the Rhino Times that the ideas the letter outlines will be discussed at the commissioners’ March 18 evening meeting.

“I am sure many of you are aware of the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act on March 11, 2021,” Alston’s letter begins.

He went on to say that Guilford County government – along with the county’s towns, cities and schools – are slated to get a total of roughly $200 million from the federal government to help cover costs from the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The chairman noted that the money will go to fund things like housing aid, education, child care, vaccine distribution and small business relief, as well – as to investments in infrastructure such as water, sewer, or broadband

“This much needed support package allows us, as local leaders, a unique opportunity to continue our collective efforts to build a better community,” Alston wrote.  “It is my hope that as One Guilford, we can come together with our respective allocations to identify programs or projects that may have a more substantial impact towards long term investment in our physical and social infrastructures to help us become a more resilient community.”

Alston noted that he’d already asked Guilford County Manager Mike Halford to begin reaching out to the towns and cities to discuss how the county’s leaders “can consider a more strategic and regionalized utilization of these funds for long term gains.”

Alston began this initiative recently when the Board of Commissioners held an extremely rare virtual meeting with the mayors and other top staff of the municipalities in the county.

  Alston concluded his March 17 letter by writing, “It is my sincerest hope that you will all help support a strategic and collaborative approach to assessing our overall needs and help identify opportunities to jointly use some of these recovery funds on a larger scale.”

In the letter, Alston also encouraged local leaders to call or contact him in another way if they have any questions or thoughts on the One Guilford initiative.