It appears the Greensboro City Council held a public hearing, but didn’t tell the public about it.
The agenda for the Tuesday, June 18 City Council meeting (and this one is in the Council Chamber at city hall) is chock full. The 2019-2020 budget, a controversial rezoning on Battleground Avenue and the “Good Repair” ordinance are all on the agenda.
But another item on the agenda is the approval of over $1 million for economic development agencies. It’s fairly standard the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce gets $100,000, the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance gets $100,000, East Greensboro now gets more than both of them put together with $250,000 and so on.
But the resolution authorizing the appropriation states, “Whereas, a public hearing was held on June 4, 2019 to receive public comment regarding the proposed economic development appropriations;” But no public hearing was held and the appropriations to the different economic development agencies was not mentioned during the meeting.
There was a public hearing on the Greensboro 2019-2020 budget but those appropriations do not appear to be in the budget that was released to the public. When city councilmembers asked what the appropriations would be at budget work sessions they were told by City Manager David Parrish that they were about the same as last year, but no individual amounts were mentioned.
So how can the city hold a public hearing on appropriations if even the City Council doesn’t know what those appropriations are. This item is part of the budget but is being voted on separately from the budget. If it is a separate agenda item for the vote, doesn’t it stand to reason that it would be a separate item for the public hearing. This City Council goes to great lengths not to let the public know what it plans to do, but holding a public hearing without informing the public seems like it might be a step too far.
Shouldn’t the public be told what the figures are before the public hearing and not after? Someone might think the Chamber shouldn’t get more than $50,000 or that East Greensboro Now should get $500,000, but they had no opportunity to comment at the public hearing on the budget.