In the movie “Brewster’s Millions,” the character played by Richard Pryor had to spend $30 million in 30 days, and, spoiler alert, he had trouble doing it; however, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners had no trouble whatsoever spending $37 million in 30 minutes.
At a 4 p.m. work session on Thursday, Oct. 6, in the Carolyn Q. Coleman Conference Room – formerly known as the Blue Room – in the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro, the commissioners voted to allocate $37 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money.
The good news is that it is not Guilford County taxpayer money but instead is free money from the federal government, therefore Guilford County residents don’t have to worry about where the money is coming from unless they happen to pay federal taxes in addition to their county property taxes and sales taxes.
The commissioners got a late start to the meeting, however, once they did they sent out money with lightning speed, cleaning out just about all of the last of $104,339,752 in federal ARPA funds the county received.
What’s truly mind-blowing is that this type of amazingly massive disbursement of federal funds is currently going on in counties and other local governments all over the country.
Here’s a list of the funding the commissioners approved in a matter of minutes:
•$10 million for the Integrated Collaborative Service Network “to create an integrated system designed to help coordinate and deliver services to Guilford County residents in need.”
•$1.5 million for the Ready for School, Ready for Life program to support a “service navigator” in each OB/GYN and pediatric practice in Guilford County. They’ll “act as liaisons between families and local service providers, social service organizations, and government representatives,” and will be “engaged in community outreach, screening, document preparation, and application assistance and intake.”
•$1 million for the Tomorrow’s Titans program to decrease violence and promote well-being for people 14 to 24 years of age.
• $500,000 for Shift Ed – formerly known as Say Yes Guilford – to “address barriers impacting student success from birth through a career by using an Educational Continuum of Care approach.”
• $8 million for a new Guilford County Housing and Homelessness Task Force. Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston has stated that that’s just a small amount of the total money needed. It is essentially “seed money” to start growing the program, he said last week.
•$2.2 million for “eviction mediation” – to help residents in financial trouble avoid an eviction judgment and remain in their homes.
•$3 million to expand substance abuse treatment and fund transitional
housing services for pregnant women and women with children.
•$1.5 million to help provide therapeutic services for foster kids with mental illness.
•$2.2 million in funding to Cone Health to expand telehealth services to 20 schools as part of the plan to have more telehealth services available in elementary schools.
•$2.5 million for ArtsGreensboro “to support artists working to recover from the economic impacts created by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a framework for a new, more sustainable arts sector.”
•$2 million to the Nussbaum Center for a special project.
• $1.2 million for Action Greensboro to support workforce development programs and do other things.
• $300,000 for the maker space Forge Greensboro to help residents gain access to “cost-prohibitive tools and equipment.” They are cost-prohibited no more apparently.
• $1 million for a new Transportation Task Force – “to convene and support” the new interagency body and “to identify transportation challenges and enact initiatives to support transportation improvements for Guilford County’s growing workforce and underserved communities.”
• $500,000 to the Town of Sedalia to support “community projects.”
• $1 million to the Rhino Times to promote “a better-informed community.” (OK, this wasn’t really one of the funded entities, however, given the length and eclectic nature of the list the Rhino Times would not have been surprised to see this one on it.)
This spending happened two days after the State of North Carolina’s Local Government Commission gave the county the green light to raise $1.7 billion from the school bond referendum voters approved in May. Unfortunately, unlike ARPA money that money is not free money.
There is no free money.
So many words with little meaning on where it is going. Should have spent one million on insuring the funds reach there destination instead lining pockets. I saw the word school a few times. Where’s those billions of lotto schools funds. Wait that poss. Paid for raises for the admin folks.
Half a mil to Sedalia kinda sorta sums up the doomboggle for me. Most people don’t realize who is paying for all this make-woke-work Pandora.
Oh, by the way; anything for Browns Summit, Summerfield, Oak Ridge?
Looks like the balance mentioned was pissed away on pretty much nothing that will make any positive contributions to town or county.
“Free money from the Federal Government”…. doesn’t that say it all?
PARENTS- With the recent school shootings at Uvalde where Sadly lives were lost due to poorly trained officers. The news says one officer came to school without their gun or vest. Can they say for sure that those officers were field trained as required by most departments before being released to active duty. Not much was said about the millions of dollars going to the schools to insure every officer in every Guilford County School is fully field trained where they are required to pass Field Operations for example: shooting calls, robbery calls, dead body calls and calls for service where officers must meet these challenges with a passing grade or face termination. This is before they released into the schools. I would hope Sheriff Danny Rogers or even the Greensboro Police Chief has the final say so requiring field training for every officer before they are deployed into the Guilford County Schools or even to wear the uniform. Are all the SROs in Guilford County Schools field trained or do some just slip thru the cracks to cover staff stortages until they can pass training which in unacceptable. Does the Guilford County School system have standards in place to insure our children are safe. All this money being spent in 30 minutes shouldn’t some of the money go to making sure every officer is fully trained so every officer knows each others jobs if such a shooting occurs in Guilford County. That’s a good question for Sheriff Danny Rogers or the Chief of Police. Parents please make that call. Please insure your child has the best trained officers money can buy.
This much cash disbursement….printing money during massive inflation is idiotic.
This is taxpayer money. It is money we all paid through federal taxes. The allocations here are all give aways that will accomplish nothing. Why not use the money to go into the general fund so that we can reduce the property tax burden that has been placed on those of us who work and contribute. I did not see a single item that is not for a special interest group for those who sit on their butts and contribute nothing to help themselves or anyone else. The commissioners have again stepped on those of us who pay the bills.
Any oversight by Guilford County Commissioners for the use of the money? Any reports required by recipient organizations documenting how money was used? The money was given by the federal government but became the money of Guilford County residents once received by the county. The residents of Guilford County have a right to know if the recipients are using the money for the good of the organizations.
This is part of the reason inflation is rising in the USA. Federal money looking for some project to fund. Will this money eventually help people who do not work begin to work and pay taxes to help pay this money back to those from which it was borrowed.
You are 100% correct.
The ARPA money will definitely end up costing taxpayers money. Every group that gets the money will come back to the county after it is spent and explain that the wonderful programs that started with the federal money must be maintained. Nowhere in any of this is a mechanism for these non-governmental groups to show they achieved anything with the money, or even an expectation they will. Whole lot of sustainable, supporting, convening, seeding, and identifying for the “community”. It’s the Boom Supersonic of non-profit boondoggling, a shiny new airplane that promises to achieve supersonic speeds but doesn’t have an engine.
No such thing as “free” money. The government doesn’t make a dime, the taxpayers do. The government requires requires taxpayers to overpay, relative to necessary operations. Then the government has enough $ left to return a small pittance to the taxpayer, for which they’re supposed to be grateful. Don’t adopt their language Scott. NEVER GIVE AN INCH!!!
ALL TAXES whether city, county state or federal are gathered from US CITIZENS. Therefore there is no such thing as “free federal money”. Wake the hell up.
I would not use “gather” money from the taxpayer. I would use “taken” from the taxpayer. I do not believe that taxpayers would willingly give money to any organization that violates its trust. How much do you trust the county, state and federal governments?
The (40) $12,000 tool sheds Greensboro bought to house the homeless have got this featherbedding list beat for pure insanity, but not by much. I had no idea meaningless word salad was so expensive.