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Stimulus projects abound but funding questions remain locally

President Barack Obama has signed his signature stimulus bill into law but skeptics – including nearly the entire Republican congressional delegation – are everywhere. Local governmental entities are preparing their wish lists, however, in hopes that at least some of the over $1 billion supposedly earmarked for Georgia trickles down into their coffers. Details on that money and how and by whom it will be distributed remain nebulous. The buzz phrase plans must be in place before funds are sought. ’There will be a number of agencies administering the funds and it is still not determined what all the qualifying and eligibility requirements will be,’ Barnesville city manager Kenny Roberts reported. School superintendent Bill Truby said he has no detailed information on the package. ‘We have been given some guidelines but no specifics,’ he said. County commission chairman Jay Matthews agreed. He expects the application process to be protracted. ‘Our priorities will be road improvement projects and enhanced fire protection,’ Matthews said. Roberts and other city officials have been working on a detailed list of projects for several months. They have identified multiple proposals that would require over $33 million in funding and create 221 jobs. ’We are concerned that small communities will be left out of the process. We have tried to get our list out to the agencies and are making contact with them personally to let them know of our readiness and the merits of our projects. Certainly most of them are ‘˜shovel ready’,’ Roberts said. The city projects include various water and wastewater treatment enhancements, sidewalks, paving rehab work, public works and animal shelter facilities enhancements, an automatic meter reading system for utilities, acquisition and demolition of substandard housing and development work on Summers Field and two industrial parks (see chart below).

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