Although small businesses took a big hit during the pandemic shutdown, state and local governments ended up with piles of unexpected money.
Bars and restaurants may have taken the biggest hit. Even with Paycheck Protection Program money many were not able to survive through the shutdowns ordered by Gov. Roy Cooper.
But the City of Greensboro made out like a bandit. Despite the fact that many city facilities were closed for months, not a single employee of the City of Greensboro was laid off due to the shutdown orders.
Now that everything is opening back up and Cooper has even lifted the statewide mask mandate as of July 30, the city’s coffers are full to overflowing.
On Tuesday, July 20, the Greensboro City Council unanimously approved the acceptance of a $10 million “Shuttered Venue Operator Grant” for the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. The Greensboro Coliseum was mostly closed by Cooper’s executive orders, and just because the Coliseum was closed didn’t mean that the expense of maintaining that large facility ended.
Assistant City Manager Larry Davis said the Coliseum staff had worked on applying for this grant for six months after learning about it in January.
Although the Tanger Center for Performing Arts is part of the Coliseum operation, it was not eligible for this grant funding because The Tanger has never been open and couldn’t show any loss of revenue for being shuttered.
But the City of Greensboro had already received $28.3 million in American Rescue Plan funding, and only $4.8 million was used to balance the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget. In May 2022, the city is scheduled to receive an additional $28.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds.
The loss of revenue from the pandemic shutdowns and the additional expenses have already been covered by reduced spending and other federal funding, so these are funds that the City Council will have to decide how to spend.
With this additional $10 million in federal funding, the city won’t have to spend it on making up losses at the Greensboro Coliseum.