CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The pie is shrinking, and time is running out.
Charlotte city council dedicated more than $76 million of federal coronavirus relief funds to spend on community support before the end of the year.
“I think we started off thinking $70 million, ‘oh my gosh this is great we’ll do this and we’ll do that’,” Mayor Vi Lyles said during the Charlotte city council meeting Tuesday night.
There’s not much time left for this and that.
The majority of the money has already been allocated and depending on who you ask there’s somewhere between $16 and 26 million dollars left to spend to help people still struggling because of COVID-19. There’s discussion that not all of the $14.5 million designated for the Business Support - Thrive initiative will be spent.
$1 million of that money was approved by city council to help fund wifi hot spots for 16,000 CMS families that don’t have internet connection for virtual learning.
“Right now this is service to get these kids online tomorrow,” Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt said.
And the list of those needing money is growing, with independent theater and music venues signaling they need funding to survive and then thrive in a post pandemic world.
“We’ll still have concerts in Charlotte they’ll just all be corporately produced and corporately owned venues, we’ll still have plays coming to Charlotte they’ll just all be big Broadway plays, they won’t be the community theaters,” Councilman Larken Egleston said.
Mayor Vi Lyles also highlighted the need to help people with rent assistance and utilities.
Lyles says she’s planning on a day long council strategy session on Octber 5th where the city manager can make a recommendation how to spend the rest of the money. As of now the deadline to do so is by the end of the year before the federal government asks for its money back.
“What would be a tragedy is we get to December 30th and there’s a substantial amount of money that goes back. I think we all agree on that,” Councilman Tariq Bokhari said.