The Greensboro City Council got into the weeds early at the work session on spending $31.8 million in American Rescue Plan funding and never found its way out.
The work session, held in the Plaza Level Conference Room at city hall on Thursday, Nov. 3, was supposed to be about additional expenditures made possible by the $59.4 million in ARP funding that the council dumped into the city’s general fund in August.
Early in the meeting, Assistant City Manager Larry Davis, who was making the presentation, suggested that the smaller nonprofits receiving allocations from the city be awarded an additional $25,000 to pay for the audit that the city requires from all nonprofits receiving more than $25,000 from the city and not just from nonprofits receiving ARP associated funding.
Councilmember Zack Matheny immediately objected saying, “I don’t agree with this. If you’re a nonprofit and you are receiving funds, we have to make sure that your books are in order. It’s not too much to ask.”
Davis said, “We’re not recommending that the requirement be waived, just that we help them out with the first audit.”
Matheny added that $25,000 for an audit of a small nonprofit was far too high. Matheny, who is president of Downtown Greensboro, Inc., said that the audit for that nonprofit organization was $4,000.
He said, “I don’t see how an audit could cost $25,000.”
Councilmember Tammi Thurm agreed saying that she worked for fairly large corporations that didn’t spend $25,000 on audits.
Matheny said, “If you set the bar at $25,000, guess how much an audit is going to cost? $25,000.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower was in favor of awarding an additional $25,000 for audits.
Paying for the audit for smaller nonprofit organizations kept coming up during the work session, and a few minutes before adjournment Davis asked for some clarification from the City Council on audit support.
Councilmember Hugh Holston suggested a $20,000 cap.
Hightower said, “I’m comfortable with $25,000. It’s a little bit of money.”
Thurm said, “I’m up to $10,000.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “I’m up to $10,000.”
Hightower said, “It should be a minimum of $20,000.”
Davis then suggested that the 2004 policy requiring an audit be updated.
It did not appear that the City Council reached any consensus.