published Monday, March 9th, 2009

Tennessee: Money maze ties up stimulus path


by Matt Wilson
Audio clip

Dave Goetz

Ask most government officials about when, where and how federal stimulus money will come in, and they’ll give a similar answer: It’s complicated.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to understand it ourselves and to then communicate with people at the local level,” Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz said. “There’s not a lot of free money in this.”

STIMULUS TIMELINE

* May 3: Federal agencies to make performance plans available, report allocations for entitlement programs

* May 15: Federal financial reports available

* May 20: Federal agencies to begin reporting competitive grants and contracts

* July 15: State and local agencies receiving federal funds to start reporting on spending

Source: Recovery.gov

Mr. Goetz said some money will go directly to local agencies in the form of grants, while other money will come through various state agencies.

Meanwhile, local officials are looking for guidance from the state as to what’s coming their way.

Dan Saieed, development director for Hamilton County, said he hopes to have something to report to administrators in the next week or so.

“Information is really just coming out right now,” he said.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield has said he believes the city is “well positioned to compete” for funding.

Some money is guaranteed, such as about $10 million for Chattanooga-area roads, but other grants require applications.

Among the grants for which city officials are applying is one that would allow Police Chief Freeman Cooper to hire 50 more officers.

Almost all of the $787 billion stimulus must be spent in the next two years, according to the legislation Congress passed last year.

PDF: Obama Administration Announces Nearly $100 Million for Smart Grid Workforce Training and Development

PDF: DOD stimulus

PDF: Cemetery spending

AP Graphic: Jump in Jobless

AP Graphic: Economic Stimulus, Where the $787 Billion will go

Article: Tennessee: Governor hopes stimulus holds tuition down

Article: Tennessee: CPA to account for state stimulus funds

Article:Tennessee: Money maze ties up stimulus path

Article: Tennessee: Despite stimulus, funds for Medicaid uncertain

PDF: TN stimulus fund allocations

Article: Tennessee: State stimulus up to $4.5 billion

PDF: Chattanooga MPO Stimulus Priority List Submittal

Article: Chattanooga: Stimulus road funding starts flowing

Article: Perdue again slashes Georgia’s state budget

Article: Georgia House passes midyear budget

Article:Chattanooga: Details trickle in on city stimulus

PDF: New Era of Responsibility

Article: Hamilton County: Stimulus may not aid school budget

Article: Perdue, Bredesen may reject jobless stimulus funding

Article: Chattanooga: Corker: Stimulus 'huge mistake'

Article: Tennessee: Bredesen says money from stimulus still will require state cuts

PDF: Georgia funding breakdowns of the Senate-passed bill.

PDF:Tennessee funding breakdowns of the Senate-passed bill.

Article: Tennessee: Region’s Senators vote no on stimulus

Article: Bradley County: Local agencies welcome stimulus

Article:Frist says education his passion

Article: Area senators join GOP chorus against stimulus

PDF: State Allocations

Article: Tennessee: Oak Ridge could get $300 million from stimulus

Article: Tennessee: Wamp assails stimulus bill as bad policy

Article: States stand to gain billions from stimulus

PDF:State by state Economic Recovery

PDF:State by state tables Economic Recovery House Appropriations Committee

PDF: State-by-state tables Economic Recovery T&I Committee

Article: Area Republicans criticize stimulus as too expensive, while Democrats say aid is needed

Article: Tennessee: ‘Stimulus’ projects include area bridges

PDF: Stimulus Package GDOT

PDF: Proposed Stimulus Considerations

PDF: Tennessee Stimulus Projects

Article: Tennessee: Officials push for student bailout

Article:Tennessee: Projects worth $1 billion may qualify for stimulus

Article: Tennessee: Bredesen says governors back Obama’s stimulus idea

Article: Transportation planner wants more stature for group

Article: TDOT chief looks to trim road project costs

Article: TDOT studies routes, toll for bridge project

Article: Widening part of U.S. 27 through downtown Chattanooga moves to forefront

Article:Eye on the pole monitors traffic

Article:Alternate toll bridge routes proposed

Article: Chattanooga: State eyes stimulus to aid at plant site

Article: Chattanooga: BB&T state chief envisions further growth in area

Article: Tennessee: Bank’s economist predicts stimulus package

Article: Chattanooga: Astec’s profit shows up estimates

Article: Questions linger on road project

The federal Recovery.org Web site states that agencies receiving federal funding must begin reporting by July 15 on how they spend it.

Mr. Goetz said officials also are trying to figure out how to distribute the money quickly while living up to accountability standards.

Part of the problem for officials is that details of what’s coming and how it can be spent are a moving target.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said last week that state officials “get a different answer every day” from federal policy makers.

State and local officials also must be careful about what money they will accept. After the two-year period funds will be available, officials will be required to keep programs going even after federal dollars dry up.

“Those dollars are going to disappear, and you’ve got to make them up somewhere,” Mr. Goetz said.

Lt. Gov. Ramsey said state lawmakers are being very careful about what funding they will accept.

Likewise, he said some funding is far more than the state ever has spent on other projects. For instance, he said Tennessee will get $97 million for home weatherization while the state has spent, at most, $6 million in previous years to weatherize homes.

“Who’s going to administer this?” he asked.

Mr. Goetz said most of the avenues for federal money to flow through the state into local agencies already exist, which means officials at least won’t have to build new mechanisms to take it in. But he said he understands that the existing mechanisms may be overwhelmed by the windfall.

“What we may well do is bid out the actual work on a regional or statewide basis so we can have the proper accountability,” Mr. Goetz said.

1
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
EaTn said...

"Lt. Gov. Ramsey said state lawmakers are being very careful about what funding they will accept."....I hope Ron is as careful when he accepts contributions for his campaign, this is if he's not already covered by pac money.

March 9, 2009 at 4:02 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.