A press release from the City of Greensboro on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding approved by the City Council has an interesting error.
fThe press release by Director of the Communications and Marketing Department Carla Banks is headlined, “City Council Funds $25M in American Rescue Plan Projects.”
The press release notes that $25 million is 42 percent of the $59.43 million the city has received in ARP funds. It lists the allocations made to nonprofits from the $2.5 million for Piedmont Business Capital to the $15,000 a year for four years to Royal Expressions Ballet for the annual Juneteenth GSO festival.
Under “Community Asset Renewal Projects” it states, “$8 million for pre-construction and other costs of the Windsor Chavis Nocho Community Complex, which was recently approved by voters during the July bond referendum.”
But the Windsor Chavis Nocho Community Complex was not approved by voters in the bond referendum. Voters approved $70 million in parks and recreation bonds, but there was no mention of the Windsor Chavis Nocho Community Complex on the ballot and the City Council is only restricted in its use of the $70 million by the language on the ballot. It is a common misconception that when people vote for bonds, they are voting to fund the particular projects being promoted by elected officials and others in favor of the bonds. In the past some voters have been sorely disappointed when the project they favored wasn’t funded by the bond.
The actual language on the ballot was: “Shall the order adopted on August 31, 2021, authorizing $70,000,000 PARKS AND RECREATION BONDS of the City of Greensboro, North Carolina, plus interest, for the purpose of providing funds, together with any other available funds, for acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping various parks and recreational facilities for said City, including, without limitation, a joint library and parks and recreational facility, and the acquisition of related land, rights of way and equipment, and providing that additional taxes may be levied in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on said bonds, be approved?”
Passing the bonds gives the City Council the option of spending money on the Windsor Chavis Nacho facility, but it does not require that any bond money be spent on that particular project.
The City Council could spend all $70 million on the Windsor Chavis Nacho facility or it could spend $0 on that facility.
The only restriction on how the City Council spends the $70 million in bond money is that it must be spent “for acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping various parks and recreational facilities for said City.”
The voters approved the $70 million in bonds, but not any particular projects, despite what the City of Greensboro and city councilmembers may claim.