The biblical dictum of ask and ye shall receive doesn’t always work perfectly, however, in the case of the cities of Greensboro and High Point, and Guilford County’s towns, the asks did get answered.
At a Tuesday, May 19 work session of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the board voted to approve several expenditures from $93.7 million in a federal COVID-19 pandemic relief grant, awarding $2.95 million to Greensboro, $1.11 million to High Point, and other amounts – also based on population – to the towns in the county.
Guilford County was one of four North Carolina counties to get money from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act – better known as the CARES Act. At the Tuesday work session, the Board of Commissioners discussed the use of the money for two and half hours while making these decisions.
The commissioners have a regular meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 21 at which they could have voted approval. However, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips said after the work session that it was important to make sure the money got where it was needed quickly.
He also said the numbers could be adjusted as needs are refined and as the amounts given to the cities and towns by other state and federal aid packages becomes known.
“This is a framework for the money,” Phillips said. “All of these numbers are not set in stone.”
The chairman also pointed out that the amounts approved are “up to” amounts. That’s language that’s commonly used in local government expenditure motions and it defines the amount given as the upper limit approved for the needs.
Phillips said these funds are a “great blessing” for Guilford County government at this time when the economy has been hobbled. Throughout the process Phillips has expressed a need for simplicity and efficiency in the grant distribution process.
Commissioner Skip Alston also said after the vote that the county moved quickly because it needed to get those funds into the hands of people and governments who were in dire straights.
Alston said the board, which was acting largely on staff recommendations, did some relatively simple math.
“We basically put a zero on the end of the population numbers,” Alston said.
For instance, Greensboro has just over 294,000 people and it got $2.94 million in funding.
Here are the amounts for the other towns and cities: Summerfield got $110,440; Gibsonville $70,240; Oak Ridge $68,290; Stokesdale $53,670, Pleasant Garden $48,140, Jamestown $40,070, Whitsett $10,180 and Sedalia $5,130.