Relief funds | Fulton County $10 million re-allocated

The Fulton County Commission targeted $10 million in federal rescue money for minority-owned banks to assist minority small business and entrepreneurs. Did they?

ATLANTA — As the COVID-19 pandemic raged, the federal government offered cities and counties significant funds through the American Rescue Plan Act to run vaccination clinics, keep businesses and jobs afloat, and to keep people safe.

Last June, the Fulton County Commission passed a resolution, earmarking $10 million of that federal rescue money for minority-owned banks with the intent of providing a financial lifeline to small minority businesses and entrepreneurs.

However, 11Alive recently learned those federal funds were re-allocated to keep the COVID clinics at Mercedes Benz Stadium; the county’s federal rescue funds ran out. 

So, the county instead deposited a total of two $5 million interest-bearing CDs from its general fund into the African American-owned Unity National Bank and the Asian-owned Loyal Trust Bank — a deposit which falls within the Fulton County investment guidelines, 

The banks said they put the CDs into their general funds, adding that the county placed no restrictions on the how the funds should be invested. But Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts emphasized the resolution’s intent just last month at a commission meeting, well after the general CDs were deposited.

“I am very proud of the 7-0 vote that we had to help small and minority-owned business. we should be proud of it,” Pitts previously said.

The move brings some questions to mind.

Although the CDs did not require it, did the money help small business? Should there be transparency?

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