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Cornelius News

American Rescue Fund windfall a ‘pleasant surprise’

Feb. 14. By Dave Vieser. Last week, Cornelius officials revealed that the town will be eligible to receive $9.6 million from the American Rescue Plan. All told, the federal grants will deliver some $1.9 trillion across the country to support responses to and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency. Cornelius plans to use its share of the funds to supplant town money that would normally be used for such local public safety services as fire and police.

Tillis

What wasn’t mentioned, however, was the fact that all of the state’s Republican House and Senate members voted against the measure, including US Sen. Thom Tillis—a Cornelius town commissioner from 2003-2005.

At the time of his no vote last year, Tillis said: “Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi chose a partisan path that resulted in divisive legislation that’s more focused on ramming through far-left initiatives instead of providing targeted relief.”

Reached last week, Tillis spokesman Daniel Keylin said the senator stands by his vote.

Windfall

Local officials view the American Rescue funds as a windfall.

“This $9.6 million in federal funds is an incredible, historic windfall for our town that could never have been imagined a year ago before the American Rescue Plan was passed in Washington,” said Commissioner Dave Gilroy.

Gilroy

He went on to urge fellow commissioners to be sure Cornelius taxpayers benefit from the one-time payment rather than allow this one-time windfall “to make fast growth in government spending even easier than ever.”

A pleasant surprise, if you will

Town Manager Andrew Grant, who had been anxiously awaiting the final rules for the use of funds from the plan, described the $9.6 million as “a very pleasant surprise.” Not mentioned was the $6.8 million request for Smithville redevelopment made in January by Willie Jones, a member of the Smithville Community Coalition.

In response, Keylin reminded residents that, although Tillis opposed this bill, he was instrumental in negotiating, drafting, and passing a separate package—the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal—which will be a “critical investment for North Carolina.”

Washam

But for now in Town Hall, all focus is on the American Rescue Plan. Mayor Woody Washam summed it up in one sentence: “We just had a golden egg dropped on our town of a significant unprecedented magnitude.”

Discussion

7 Responses to “American Rescue Fund windfall a ‘pleasant surprise’”

  1. The greatest need that can be met with the Rescue Plan windfall is the workforce affordable housing that will be provided via the Smithville Plan. Let the rescue begin!

    Posted by Constance Kolpitcke | February 14, 2022, 11:48 pm
  2. I am very disappointed to see there is no mention of funding support for the Smithville Revitalization Plan despite verbal support expressed by Mayor Washam and Town Board members at the last Town Board meeting. I urge you to fund the Smithville plan, which will provide much needed affordable housing.

    Posted by Sue Rankin-White | February 15, 2022, 12:00 pm
  3. “Town Manager Andrew Grant, who had been anxiously awaiting the final rules for the use of funds from the plan”…

    1 step at a time people…seems to me they have to find out the specifics on what they can and cannot use the money for…got it?

    Posted by Jeff Shaw | February 15, 2022, 7:30 pm
  4. The Smithville Revitalization Plan needs to be included in Cornelius’ plan to allocate the American Rescue Plan funds. Mayor Washam and Town Board members have stated their support for the Smithville plan at the last Town Board meeting. Supporting the Smithville plan preserves this historically black community while providing much needed affordable housing. I urge you to include funding for the Smithville plan.

    Posted by Deanna Wilson | February 15, 2022, 8:15 pm
  5. Unity in Community urges the Town to include in its plan full funding of $6.6million to support the Smithville Revitalization Plan. This plan would not only preserve the historically Black community of Smithville but would also provide affordable workforce housing, which is much needed in our Town. To date, the Town has not made a significant investment in Smithville. We are concerned that if Smithville is not fully funded now, the Town will go back to “business as usual.” At the Town meeting on January 18, 2022, Mayor Washam and Town Commissioners spoke up in support for the Smithville Plan. Now with the announcement that the Town will be eligible to receive $9.6million from the American Rescue Plan, Town officials remain silent regarding their support for Smithville. This silence is unacceptable to UiC. We urge the Town to break that silence now and pledge its support for the Smithville Plan.

    Posted by Unity in Community North Mecklenburg | February 16, 2022, 2:19 pm
  6. Unity in Community urges the Town to include in its plan full funding of $6.6million to support the Smithville Revitalization Plan. This plan would not only preserve the historically Black community of Smithville but would also provide affordable workforce housing, which is much needed in our Town. To date, the Town has not made a significant investment in Smithville. We are concerned that if Smithville is not fully funded now, the Town will go back to “business as usual.” At the Town meeting on January 18, 2022, Mayor Washam and Town Commissioners spoke up in support for the Smithville Plan. Now with the announcement that the Town will be eligible to receive $9.6million from the American Rescue Plan, Town officials remain silent regarding their support for Smithville. This silence is unacceptable to UiC. We urge the Town to break that silence now and pledge its support for the Smithville Plan.

    Posted by Tanya Lam | March 3, 2022, 12:40 pm
  7. I would like to weigh in on the urgency of the town supporting the Smithville Revitalization Plan. This attention and investment is long overdue. Please be on the right side of history in undertaking this important step. It’s time.

    Posted by Barbara Randolph | March 3, 2022, 8:59 pm

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