News Flash

Marketing & Communications

Posted on: September 22, 2021

City Council Approves First Allocation of Federal Coronavirus Relief; Public Outreach Planned

City Hall

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

The expenditure, approved Monday, is the first allocation of the $51.7 million the city is receiving through the federal Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. 

Further allocations have yet to be finalized. 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 actual amount could vary when the City Council votes on the phase 1 spending framework later this fall. 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. 

Future phases 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 recover lost city revenue due to the pandemic, and that up to $2.55 million be reserved to cover administrative costs.

The city had been awaiting final guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department on how the money can be spent. However, late last week 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 rules announced earlier this year, said Scott Tesh, the city’s director of performance and accountability.

“We have been told that cities will be not be penalized if they make a spending decision based on an interim rule that does not make it into the final rules, “Tesh said. “We know that there is a lot of interest in the community about this opportunity, so we are moving forward.

“When we are ready to receive applications we will hold virtual public meetings to explain the process and answer questions,” Tesh said. Dates, times and information about how to participate will be announced once the details are finalized. The city will work with Greater Winston-Salem Inc., the Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce and other organizations to get the word out.

More information about the interim rules and details of the spending framework, including breakdowns of how the money could be allocated under the first and future phases, are posted at CityofWS.org/CLFRF.

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