Even the City of Greensboro appears to be confused about the expenditure of the $59.4 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds the city received.
A press release from the City of Greensboro on Friday, Sept. 23 lists $2.4 million in projects approved for funding by the City Council at the Tuesday, Sept. 20 meeting and states, “These projects join the Council’s previously approved projects, which now total $27,537,000, and account for 46 percent of funds made possible by the City’s $59.43 million ARP award.
“Council will continue to evaluate City facility and community service needs as it reaches decisions on allocating the remaining ARP funds to identify those projects most closely aligned with community needs and City Council priorities.”
The $2.4 million in projects were not paid for with ARP funds and there are no ARP funds remaining to allocate.
At the Aug. 16 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to allocate the entire $59.4 million in ARP funds for the regular everyday expenses of running the city.
The resolution passed by the City Council states,
“WHEREAS, this approach allows the City to use ARPA funds to initially cover local expenditures already provided for in the annual operating budget, such as salaries and benefits, and most other expenditures necessary to provide municipal government services;
“WHEREAS, the City’s budgeted local general revenues that would have been used to cover these government services are then made available to fund the allocations to various outside agencies and other internal projects, as selected by City Council in accordance with an application process and certain selection criteria;
“WHEREAS, since the allocation to outside agencies will be awarded from local funds, certain of the procurement and other recordkeeping administration duties by the agencies and the City may be streamlined.”
As the resolution notes by allocating the entire $59.4 million for general government expenses the city and the agencies that receive funding will not have to follow the reporting and administration requirements involved in spending ARP funds. According to the resolution, this method “is considered by the School of Government to be an efficient approach.”
However, on Aug. 16, the City Council allocated all $59.4 million in ARP funds, which means what the City Council allocated on Sept. 20 was money from the general fund that became available because of the additional $59.4 million in ARP funds the City Council allocated to the general fund.
The City Council can spend the general fund money freed up by the ARP funds on any legitimate government expense and is no longer restricted by the federal guidelines for spending ARP funds.