Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund

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The city is holding monthly public briefings to keep residents informed as the city goes about allocating the $51.7 million it is receiving in federal pandemic relief. The first briefings were held Oct. 19 (in English) and Oct. 20 (in Spanish) and provided an overview of what has happened to date and the city’s current plans for allocating the money. Links to videos of those briefings are posted at the bottom of this page. 

The meeting dates for November will be posted on this page as soon as they are scheduled.

If you have questions about the process that were not addressed in October briefings, use the form on this page to submit your question. 

Under a proposed phase 1 spending framework presented Aug. 23 to the City Council, $5.9 million would be earmarked for affected businesses and non-profits and other immediate needs. The City Council is expected to vote on a phase 1 spending framework in November. Details about the phase 1 proposal are available in this PowerPoint presentation, or watch a video of the presentation to the City Council. The actual phase 1 amount could vary when the council votes on the proposal. 

Once the council acts, the City would begin accepting applications from local small businesses and non-profit organizations that would like to receive assistance from the fund. The application will be posted on the city's website. At this point, no formal application process has been approved or opened. When the city is ready to accept applications the public will be notified via this website, press outreach, and community outreach. 

A second phase of spending could make $35.5 million available for outcome-based partnerships and programs with specific goals tied to the strategic priorities the Mayor and City Council adopted earlier this year. The city staff is recommending that up to $7.75 million be reserved to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic, and that up to $2.55 million be reserved to cover administrative costs. 

The City Council recently approved spending $2.95 million for crime prevention, an eviction-assistance program, and a one-time bonus for city employees who performed essential work during the pandemic. 

The city had been awaiting final guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department on how the money can be spent. However, in mid-September the department announced that the final rules would not be available for some time yet and that cities may begin allocating money based on interim final rules announced earlier this year.

Use this link to learn more about the interim final rules and how they are being interpreted by the city (pdf). Use this link to read the complete text of the interim final rules in the Federal Register.

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The city is slated to receive $51.7 million from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Money for the fund was included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that Congress passed in March. The money is being delivered in two batches: half was delivered in May 2021; the other half is scheduled to be delivered in May 2022.

The Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund is designed to give cities flexibility in responding to the health emergency and in funding projects, programs, or organizations that were economically impacted by the pandemic. In addition to programs specific to pandemic response and recovery, certain improvements to water, sewer and broadband infrastructure also can be funded, as well as programs or improvements for low-income census tracts.

Proposed Spending Principles

The city staff is recommending that allocation decisions be guided by these principles:

  • Transparency. The city will be open and transparent with all uses of ARPA funds, including holding public input sessions and creating public-facing dashboards.

  • Restoration. The city will use part of the funds to provide assistance to city operations and the local economy affected by COVID-19.

  • Transformation. The city will be outcome-oriented in the use of funds and will document progress made is specific and in strategic priority areas.

  • Fiscal Soundness. Because the funds are one-time in nature, the city will seek not to create recurring obligations using these funds.

  • Equity. All program and grant expenditures will undergo an equity review to ensure resources are equitably distributed throughout the community.

The staff is recommending that initial allocations be targeted at coronavirus response, mitigation, relief, and restoration efforts. Later the council could consider funding longer-term "transformative" initiatives to address such issues as affordable housing, workforce development, early childhood education and other underlying social and health conditions. 

These are the guidelines that the council must follow:

Spending Guidelines

Can be used for:  

  • Restoring local government revenue lost due to the pandemic, and government services affected by the loss of revenue.

  • Making up for the economic impact caused by COVID-19 by providing grants to small businesses, non-profits, households and tourism, hospitality and the arts.

  • Providing a pay supplement to local government workers performing essential work, or to provide grants to businesses with employees performing essential work.

  • Financing water, sewer and broadband projects.

  • Programs related to health, crime, housing, employment, and childhood education in low-income census tracts, also known as qualified census tracts (QCTs).

 Cannot be used for:

  • Cannot be used to reduce the tax rate.

  • Cannot be used to delay a new tax or tax increase.

  • Cannot be deposited into pension funds.

Other Pandemic Relief

In addition to the $51.7 million the city will receive, the American Rescue Plan, Congress appropriated money for a variety of programs to assist businesses. Go to the COVID-19 Business Information page for more details. 

Greater Winston-Salem Inc.’s fall 2021 Minority Business Enterprise Grant program will provide up to $25,000 to Black and Latinx-owned local businesses to assist in COVID-19 economic recovery. Applications will open in October, with an exact date to be announced soon. Register for a virtual “how-to” session Oct. 4 to learn how to prepare a grant application.

Low-income renters who are behind on their rent or utilities payments because of the pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Go to the ERAP page for full details about eligibility and how to apply. 

Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Background Information

  • October Update public briefing – Allocation plan overview. Watch in English. Watch in Spanish.
  • September 15, 2021 - UPDATED: Map of Qualified Census Tracts. Go to the map.
  • August 23, 2021 - Special workshop of the City Council on potential Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Learn more. Or, watch the meeting.
  • August 16, 2021 - City Council resolved to accept the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Learn more.
  • April 28, 2021 - Public Input meeting on the American Rescue Plan Act. Watch the meeting.
  • April 5, 2021 - Update on Next Steps for the American Rescue Plan Act. Learn more.
  • March 15, 2021 - Update on the American Rescue Plan Act. Learn more.