On Tuesday afternoon, May 19, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners will be getting down to the business of determining how to spend the first tranche of $94 million in federal money that’s been given to the county as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act – better known as the CARES Act.

The board has scheduled a work session for 9:30 a.m. in the third-floor conference room in the county-owned BB&T building in downtown Greensboro in order “to receive and review proposals for Guilford County’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan using funding; and to transact any other necessary business.”

The commissioners heard some recommendations from staff earlier this month as to how the money should be spent. Guilford County government plans to use a portion of the $94 million to support local businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic; however, at this first real decision-making meeting regarding the money, the board is expected to focus on internal requests that meet the needs of various county departments. Later in the process, the commissioners will take on the much more difficult task of determining which private businesses get financial help.  

Due to the pandemic, the May 19 work session will only include commissioners, county staff and a limited number of media. Others who want to watch can do so through GoToWebinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2040065067361477389 using a computer, tablet or smartphone. They can also access the meeting’s audio feed by calling 1(562) 247-8422 and entering the access code 457-442-380.

Some county officials would like to see the money make up shortfalls due to the major drop in sales tax revenue in this fiscal year – however, the funds come with strings attached and currently that’s not an option. As it stands now, all $94 million must be spent on extra-budget costs connected with the pandemic, however, there is some hope that the federal government will loosen up the criteria regarding the use of the money.