Stimulus timing uncertain
by Stuart Hill - posted Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 @ 2:11 pm
Local government officials have little information on the federal stimulus package and its potential affect on Franklin Parish, but they feel confident the area will be included when the funds start to flow.
"We really don't know when or where the funds will come," said Ken McManus, owner of the engineering consulting firm which services the Police Jury.
Winnsboro Mayor Jack Hammons said the city had not received any information concerning the stimulus and Jackie Jackson, chairman of the Police Jury's economic development committee said he was unsure of the method of distribution of stimulus funds.
Although a lack of information about funds distribution is troublesome to local officials, all expressed confidence in their efforts to be eligible any funding.
In addition, leaders of medical facilities, schools and other communities in the parish, look to be in line when funds become available. In all, about $40 million worth of projects were listed in the parish before the bill was signed last week. McManus said his office was sending materials in answer to request from Washington as late as this week. "We're working on a second round of requests from Washington," McManus said, "and I think we can assume that some money will come our way. It'll be some for roads, some for medical and some for water projects.
"We have some big needs and that calls for big wishes. We don't need to hesitate to ask," he said of the stimulus.
Johnson also expressed confidence funds will eventually aid the parish, however, he wondered how the money would be distributed.
"In the past, we some funds have come to us through the North Delta Economic Development Agency," he said. "But we don't know if that will be the method of distribution.
"My research says the Governor may want to take some and not take some," Johnson said.
"For example, I understand the Governor is against some of the provisions of unemployment insurance. He says there are some requirements there that will put the state in a position he does not want the state to be in," he added.
Johnson said the police jury staff had been painstakingly cautious about preparing its requests for consideration, "and, we've learned a few things about making applications based on our recent history with floods and hurricanes.
"Although transportation networks in the parish, roads and bridges, are the most likely to benefit from a cash infusion, Jackson said improvements near Turkey Creek have the most long-range economic potential.
"Roads and bridges," said McManus, "are the easiest to get into a 'shovel-ready' position."