The response to the coronavirus has caused severe economic hardship across the board, but the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has learned that the county is getting “a great blessing” – the federal government is sending $93 million to the county to use in ways the county sees fit to respond to COVID-19 and help repair the economic damage caused by the various stay-at-home orders.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips stated in an email on Saturday, April 25, that County Manager Marty Lawing and other county officials are studying exactly how that relief money can be spent, as well as the most effective ways to put it to use.  

“Marty and county staff are in the process of carefully reviewing the federal guidance for the potential uses for the federal relief funds,” Phillips wrote of the $93 million that the county can certainly use.

“More work needs to be done to gain better clarity,” Phillips added, “but as I understand their early assessment the funds are intended to address some of the specific needs that have arisen (or may arise) out of the significant financial challenges the county is facing related to the COVID-19 public health crisis.”

The money is part of the federal CARES Act – the federal government’s coronavirus economic relief plan passed earlier this month.

Lawing said the money is meant for “necessary expenditures” incurred during the pandemic, and it is to be used for items not in the current county budget and for expenditures made between March 1 and the end of the year.

“Indications are that it will be a direct payment to Guilford County from the US Department of Treasury,” Lawing said.

According to Phillips, the current Board of Commissioners always thinks very carefully before it spends money, and this $93 million will be given the same respect.

Phillips wrote: “The availability of these federal monies is obviously a great blessing and we intend to be very thoughtful, as always, about how we may appropriate the funds as we consider some of the more significant and unusual financial burdens facing many of our citizens along with the dramatically strained and limited resources of the county.”