Rescue plan

Guilford County leaders decide how to spend US bailout funds

GUILFORD COUNTY, NC (WGHP) – Guilford County leaders are considering how to spend $ 104 million of US bailout funds.

The $ 1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was enacted in March.

Guilford County Commissioners Chairman Skip Alston said after several community meetings and sending 1,600 surveys to random homes, suggestions were received.

The five-page survey included 21 questions about the hardships people faced throughout the pandemic.

“Affordable housing for citizens who have been displaced, rent assistance, mortgage assistance,” Alston said. “Most of the funds that came in didn’t include opportunities or help people with mortgage assistance.”

Other suggestions include money for small businesses to bounce back and mental health services.

Alston said FOX8 municipalities are also stepping in.

“We’ve heard that some of them want major infrastructure,” he said. “They want water and sewer lines, they want broadband, they want Wi-Fi in their community.”

Cities also receive ARP funds. Greensboro received nearly $ 60 million and High Point more than $ 22 million. The money must be spent by 2026 or returned to the federal government.

“It’s a big amount of money at a time and people want it to be put to good use,” said Dr. Randy Elder, head of the accounting and finance department at UNC Greensboro.

He sees this as strategic investments in the community. He told FOX8 the money will help pay off losses and jumpstart the local economy.

“Despite the fact that the stock market is high, the economy is expanding, unemployment is falling, there are people who have been affected and there are continuing health elements of the pandemic which are also a major part of the goal of the bailout, ”said Elder mentioned.

Alston said half of the relief money is currently in the county’s bank account. The remaining portion will be deposited next year.

“We want to do it right and we want our citizens to feel they have a say in where the money goes,” Alston said.

Commissioners might be wondering where the money is going as early as mid-December.

Contact the commissioner who represents you to share your ideas if you have not received a survey.