30 November 2009
GREENSBORO (NNPA) - Tracking stimulus funding received by the City has gotten a little bit easier for Greensboro residents. Funds received as a part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) can now be tracked on http://greensbororecovery-nc.net.
“Go on the Web site. I think we’re the first in this area that has done something this extensive outside the federal and state levels to track the funding and to make it easier for people to track the funding,” said Denise Turner, assistant city manager for community affairs and communications.
Turner is correct. Even Obama Administration officials have said there is need for greater levels of monitoring and tracking stimulus funds on the state and local levels; even as it pertains to minority participaton in contracting. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, chair of the Democratic National Committee, has said his state has an "abysmal" record at spending with African-Americans and that tracking could be the key.
The Greensboro web site features graphics that show overall stimulus spending. Through ARRA, the Greensboro area received more than $38.4 million. The City of Greensboro received more than $23 million. Funds will go toward economic and community development, environmental protection, public safety, and transportation.
According to Turner, the city has only expended about four percent of the total funds that the city has received. These funds went to the Workforce Investment Act funding, which was used for adult training and employment and youth employment, and the Transit Infrastructure Investment, which was used for the construction of the Greensboro Transit Authority operations and maintenance facility.
As city programs are implemented and developed, reports will be posted on the Web site. Turner explained, “The way funds are being spent is what we’re trying to detail on our site. On the site it has a “Stimulus Funds at a Glance” page and it has a “Funds Spent” page and it shows a bar graph and a pie chart.”
For other grants where funds are remaining, interested parties can post applications. “These are for non-profits, businesses, not individuals. And it depends on the services that the grant seeks. For the Work Force Development Fund, they sometimes seek people to do training in certain areas. If they needed to train people in word processing, they could subcontract with a small business to do that training,” shared Turner.
On the “Apply for Funds” page is information about historically underutilized business (HUBs). The Web site states that “Through the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise program, the City of Greensboro provides HUBs equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of City contracting and purchasing programs, and prohibits discrimination against a person or business in pursuit of these opportunities on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin.”
These businesses are wanted to participate on Amtrak projects nationwide. The North Carolina Office of Economic Recovery and Investment launched an awareness campaign targeting HUBs. More information is listed on the Web site. Turner said, “This Web site is probably one of the easiest ones in the state to figure out what’s going on with stimulus money and how to get access to it.”
NNPA Editor-in-Chief Hazel Trice Edney contributed to this article.