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LibbyMt.com > News > March 2009 > County, city officials scramble for stimulus funds

Kootenai Valley Record. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Kootenai Valley Record
County, city officials scramble for stimulus funds
by Brent Shrum, Kootenai Valley Record
March 26, 2009

County and city officials were scrambling last week to nominate projects for a share of federal economic stimulus funds being divvied up by the Montana Legislature.

Lincoln County found out Thursday that the Montana Association of Counties and the Montana League of Cities and Towns were looking for a list of projects to hand over to legislators on Friday, said Bill Bischoff, executive assistant to the county commissioners.

"And if you don’t complete the survey and get it in by noon you’re out of luck," Bischoff said.

The survey placed an emphasis on projects that can get off the ground as quickly as possible.

"They wanted a project that was basically already out to bid and ready to go," said Libby Mayor Doug Roll.

Under the proposal being considered by the Legislature, federal stimulus money would be divided among counties and cities based on a formula that takes into account population and road mileage. Lincoln County’s share would be about $252,000, the city of Libby would receive around $58,000, and Troy would get about $23,000.

The county and both cities got their nominations in by Friday’s deadline. Lincoln County is proposing to use around $75,000 for infrastructure improvements at the Eureka industrial park and the rest for the extension of water and sewer lines at the Kootenai Business Park Industrial District in Libby to facilitate Stinger Welding’s plans to construct a new building on the site. Libby is proposing to use its share of the money to extend a sewer main from Montana Avenue to Cabinet Heights, and Troy plans to use its funds to repair brickwork at City Hall.

In an e-mail to the county commissioners, Montana Association of Counties executive director L. Harold Blattie stressed that the legislative proposal is "far from a done deal" but added that a member of the House Appropriations Committee who had previously opposed the distribution had agreed to support the proposal as long as local governments started projects quickly and met requirements of providing jobs and stimulating the economy.

Editor’s Note: See the March 24, 2009 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, now on Tuesday, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail kvrecord@gmail.com.

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