The Greensboro City Council is holding a virtual work session on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m.

All of the City Council work sessions have been virtual since April 2020.  Even when the City Council went to “hybrid” meetings in April and then in July to meetings where a limited number of regular folks could attend, the work sessions continued to be held virtually.

Also in keeping with the secretive nature of the current City Council, although the agenda for the meeting has been posted, the agenda attachments have not.

The two agenda items are “Sustainability Discussion” and “American Rescue Plan (ARP) Update.”

If the past is any indication of the future, the reports that are to be discussed will be posted hours or minutes before the meeting.  One could argue that posting the reports shortly before the meeting puts councilmembers on an equal footing.  If they were posted earlier, some councilmembers would read the reports and have gotten some of their questions answered ahead of time, giving them an advantage over councilmembers who sign on to the meeting and find out what is going to be discussed when it is announced.

The goals of the Sustainability Action Plan are “to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve energy efficiency, provide for economic development opportunities, promote an improved quality of life and save taxpayer money.”

In May it was announced that Greensboro would receive $59.4 million in ARP money and the City Council asked for input from residents on how the money should be spent.  The city received $28.2 million in May and will receive the remainder of the money no later than May 2022.

The City Council allocated $4.8 million of the ARP money in the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget, but the remainder is available to spend for just about any legitimate purpose other than lowering the tax rate or delaying a tax increase.

The City Council has discussed spending the bulk of the money on a single infrastructure project but has not held discussions of any substance on what that single project might be.