you're reading...

Cornelius News

Windfall: Town Board eyes how to spend $9.6 million in federal stimulus funds

Photo by Jason Benavides

Feb. 9. By Dave Vieser. Cornelius will be eligible to receive $9.6 million from the American Rescue Fund according to town Manager Andrew Grant, who unveiled the good news at the Town Board meeting Feb. 7. All told, the plan will deliver some $1.9 trillion across the country to support responses to and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

While the Cornelius share of $9.6 million may seem like a small piece of the pie, it would be a windfall.

‘Supplant expenses’


“What we are recommending is to use the federal funds to supplant expenses by the town for fire and police salaries. Then we can apply the funds we would have used for other vital needs,” Grant said.

There’s already competition for the money. Willie Jones, with the Smithville Community Coalition, has asked for $6.8 million from Cornelius’ hoped for share of American Rescue Fund dollars.

Decisions ahead

Those vital needs could include a town match for NCDOT road projects, stream restoration projects and projects such as sidewalks linked to affordable housing development.“


The next step will be for the town to ascertain community needs through public meetings and hearings, and to be sure the required procedures to receive the federal funds are carefully followed. All funds received by the town must be spent by 2026.

Deep dive

The availability of the funds will make for a busy budget preparation season this spring, as the commissioners will need to make decisions on expenditures and projects for the annual town budget as well as the Rescue Fund. “There will be two separate processes,” Grant said, “but they will certainly overlap at times too.”

The $1.9 trillion stimulus package set aside $350 billion exclusively for local governments.