Mayor Nancy Vaughan has been pushing the idea of putting a bond referendum on the ballot this year.

The bond referendum so far is short on details and long on enthusiasm for the city to borrow more money.

According to the 2020 Greensboro Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and an update from the Financial and Administrative Services Department, it appears that Greensboro city councils may be better at promoting and passing bonds than they are at spending the money once it is available.

The figures used are the actual unencumbered portion of the bond money remaining.  Encumbered means that the city still has the money but has contracts that will have to be paid when the project is completed.  So the figures are not just the amount of money the city has left in the account, but the amount that the city has left and had no definite plans on how to spend it.

For instance, economic development is always listed as one of the City Council’s top priorities.  Yet, the City Council has $3.8 million in 2008 economic development bond money that has not been spent.  So in the past 13 years the City Council has not found a way to spend this $3.8 million to bring more economic development to Greensboro.

The money is available and has been for over a decade, but it’s not doing the city any good.  The citizens who voted for that bond no doubt did so with the idea that the City Council would use the money to bring more economic development and more jobs to Greensboro, not so the money could sit in the bank.

The city also has $1.3 million in War Memorial Stadium 2008 bond money that it hasn’t spent. 

The city has $21 million in Street Improvement Bonds passed in 2010 and $1.8 million in 2016 Transportation Bond money.

Affordable Housing is one of the top priorities of the City Council, but it has $5.2 million in 2016 Housing Bond money.  This City Council has been in office since 2017 and despite affordable housing being one of its top priorities year after year, it has not spent the money available.

The 2016 Community and Economic Development Bond fund has a balance of $21.3 million.