The Greensboro City Council has a huge problem that it spent much of the Thursday, April 7 work session discussing.

The problem is that the city has $59.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds that it has to have obligated by 2024 and spent by 2026.  If the money is not spent by 2026, then it goes back to the federal government.

The city received $29.7 million in May 2021 and will receive the second installment of $29.7 million in May of this year.  Since before the money was received last May, city staff and the City Council has been trying to figure out how to spend it.

There was consideration of using most of the money for a “transformational” project, but it appears now the City Council plans to spend some on city projects and hand out some to nonprofits.

At the City Council work session on April 7, the City Council did reach a consensus on spending $2.75 million on two city projects recommended by city staff.

One project is to spend $1.1 million to “Upgrade security at Police Department facilities to include additional cameras, lighting, fencing and intercom systems.”

Mayor Nancy Vaughan that the increased security would not only benefit police officers but also the nonsworn Police Department employees as well as the public who visit police facilities.

The City Council after some discussion also reached a consensus on providing a one-time bonus for city employees in recognition of their work during the COVID-19 restrictions.  Employees who had to report for work during the COVID crisis would receive a $500 bonus and those who were allowed to work from home would receive a bonus of $250.  Part-time employees would receive a prorated bonus based on their hours.

The bonuses would go to 2,975 current full-time and part-time employees.

City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba said that the majority of city employees were not offered the opportunity of working from home during the COVID crisis and would receive the $500 bonus.

Councilmember Sharon Hightower did not agree that the employees who worked from home should receive a lesser bonus.