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The Fayetteville City Council is meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Fayetteville City Hall for its regularly scheduled meeting.

On the agenda are three important items: 

  1. A hearing on the use of $1.25 million in American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds to help create and sustain minority-owned businesses.
  2. A hearing on the issuing of up to $114 million in private activity bonds to help fund two mixed-income apartment complexes.
  3. A presentation on what the city plans to do with bonds passed by Fayetteville voters in November’s general election.

The City Council will vote on the ARPA funding and the funding of the mixed-income apartment complexes following those public hearings.

Fayetteville residents can sign up to speak at any of the hearings online here. Residents can also sign up by phone at 910-433-1312, by fax at 910-433-1980 or by email at cityclerk@ci.fay.nc.us.

Funds for minority-owned businesses

On Monday, the City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposal to use $1.25 million in ARPA funds to help minority-owned businesses overcome “barriers to a lack of capital that significantly impedes the creation of sustainable minority-owned businesses,” according to a presentation attached to the meeting agenda.

The ARPA funds would go toward the creation of the Economic Equity Venture Capital Fund, an initiative created by the Business Advisory Council within the Community Development Foundation, a local nonprofit organized by community leaders within the private sector.

The goal of the fund is to grow 10 businesses, by 10 or more employees each, within five years.

How to apply

Business applicants for the Economic Equity Venture Capital Fund must be a registered company with the North Carolina  secretary of state and must be in good standing.

Businesses may also have to provide up to three years of financial statements to evaluate the financial standing of the business, according to documents concerning the fund from the Business Advisory Council.

A business plan would also be required, and assistance for businesses to do that would be provided, according to the presentation on the fund attached to the meeting agenda.

Businesses would also have to create an agreed-upon number of jobs that pay above the average wage in Cumberland County, which is $43,024, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

First priority would be given to businesses owned by residents who live in a low- to moderate-income census tract. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines that as a census tract where 51% or more of households earn 80% or less of the area median income. The AMI in Cumberland County, as of this year, is $61,200, according to HUD.

Applications for the program are not yet open, as the Business Advisory Council continues to seek funding.

ARPA, which President Joe Biden signed in March 2021, assists local governments across the country in responding to economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city of Fayetteville received over $40 million of the $1.9 trillion allocated by Congress in ARPA. If the City Council approves on Monday, a portion of that $40 million would go toward the capital fund that would assist minority-owned businesses.

Mixed-income apartments

The City Council will also hold a hearing on the issuing of up to $114 million in private activity bonds to help fund mixed-income apartment housing at 1707 Owen Drive and 1944 Cedar Creek Road. HUD defines mixed-income housing developments as those that include a mix of market-rate units as well as units that are affordable to those who live below the area median income.

The private activity bonds would be issued by the Public Finance Authority, a nonprofit that issues tax-exempt bonds for public and private entities for projects nationwide. The projects present no risk to the taxpayer or any state or local government, according to the organization’s website.

The Public Finance Authority would issue the bonds to the Arizona-based Community Finance Corp., which would own and operate the apartment housing at the Owen Drive and Cedar Creek Road locations, according to the city resolution attached to the agenda.

The monthly rents at each location for studio and one-bedroom apartments would be $900 and $1,200, respectively.

Presentation on bonds

During November’s general election, Fayetteville residents voted to approve $97 million in bonds: $60 million for public safety, $25 million for infrastructure and $12 million for affordable housing.

On Monday, Fayetteville City staff will go over initial plans to use that money with the City Council

City Manager Doug Hewett said, at a City Council meeting in April, that to pay back the bonds passed in November, Fayetteville will increase property taxes for property owners. This will happen after the city finalizes the next budget in June.

Prior to the election, the city estimated that the bonds would require property owners to pay just under 4 cents more per $100 of home valuation based on a presentation Hewett’s office gave to the City Council earlier this year.

A family who owns a home valued at $200,000, for example, would pay $80 more annually on their property taxes, a monthly increase of about $7.

Cumberland County reevaluates property values based on current market prices for each municipality in the county each year for tax purposes.

Useful Links/Resources

Past coverage from CPP of voter-approved bonds

Ben Sessoms

Ben Sessoms is a Carolina Public Press staff writer based in Fayetteville. Send an email to bsessoms@carolinapublicpress.org to contact him.

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