Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?|
Story Archives: Stimulus projects asked from local officials
|Stimulus projects asked from local officials|
A sudden deadline change sent Franklin Parish civic and business leaders into a two-hour drill Monday to list topics in the parish which could be key parts of a national economic stimulus package.
A total of 19 business and civic leaders were on hand at the 10 a.m. meeting, called with little more than hours notice, and were asked to list economically stimulating projects in less than two hours.
The deadline to have the information to the North Delta Economic Development Council was shortened by about 24 hours, causing the sudden meeting and information request.
Officials were to supply project names and estimated costs.
Meeting coordinators said the information would be used by the incoming federal administration in the distribution of approximately 25 billion dollars to 11 of the states deemed most poverty stricken--including Louisiana.
"Right now they want to know the name of the project and estimated costs," said Bob Mears a Franklin Parish Police Jury consultant from Downsville who also works with Caldwell Parish.
Meeting attendees were given broad guidelines for their proposals.
"In general, the projects are supposed to create jobs and stimulate the economy," said Jackie Johnson. the District 7 juror who opened the meeting at the Franklin Parish Court House.
A handout at the meeting summarized the intent of the sudden request:
"As with the rest of the country, the 252 counties and parishes in the DAR region need an infusion of cash to quickly start and finish infrastructure projects--projects which will create front-end jobs, increase purchasing and improve quality of life and place."
The brief meeting concluded with all pledging to complete a simple form within the allotted less than two hours.
Private employers in the parish were encouraged to list any long range development plans which would stimulate local job development.
Government bodies, such as towns, were encouraged to add any local infrastructure developments, such as sewer or water improvements, to the list.
At no time did anyone in the meeting suggest that funds would be coming from this sudden scramble for information, but there seemed to be a general agreement to participate.
Mears said this would likely be the start of an information flow.
"In the long run, if a project is going to be funded--somewhere along the line it will have to be approved and before that, it must be justified. That means someone will have to do more than just list it." he said.
National economic stimulation has been on the forefront of public concern since September 2008.
Late that month, the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. passed its version of a stimulus bill. A week later, the "Wall Street Bailout" overtook congressional attention and the House bill remained dormant through the November presidential election.
Various groups, the Senate, House, White House and a presidential transitional team have been working on stimulus packages, according to a meeting handout.
This is the first time, however, officials say they have been asked to contribute any information.