Fayetteville adds $1 million to pandemic relief program

Fayetteville City Hall (Flyer file photo)

Fayetteville can now give $1 million more to nonprofit groups affected by the pandemic.

The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a proposal from Councilmember Teresa Turk which allows nonprofit organizations to recoup financial losses incurred from March 2020 to March 2021. A previous program assisted groups only for losses incurred from March 2021 to March 2022.

Turk’s measure allows for a maximum of $100,000 per nonprofit. That idea, she said, was suggested by city staff who were concerned that one or two groups could take all the money and leave others with no assistance.

Groups seeking aid can apply for the new funding from Monday, Feb. 27 through 5 p.m. March 10.

Before the vote, Councilmember Scott Berna asked why the original window for losses incurred didn’t include the earlier days of the pandemic. Steven Dotson, the city’s internal auditor, said when the program was first launched, federal guidelines only mentioned coverage for losses from March 2021 to March 2022, and that the rules have since been updated to allow more aid.

Berna said he was struggling with the decision to approve Turk’s proposal, not because he questioned the need for more funding, but because he wondered what would come of the groups that applied for funding during the first round of applications, but never received any help.

Susan Norton, the mayor’s chief of staff, said any group that applied previously can also apply for the new round of funding. However, Norton said only one application will be allowed per nonprofit, and the application packet must include all of the required documentation as there won’t be any back-and-forth between applicants and city staff. And the money, she said, will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fayetteville received $17.9 million in ARPA funds to distribute. After several rounds of funding decisions, including Turk’s proposal, the city now has about $1.7 million remaining.