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Columbus Preparing For Stimulus, but the Mayor’s Not Holding His Breath

Columbus city officials have begun submitting requests for funding from the federal stimulus package signed into law last month.

Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong said certain application deadlines are as early as March 9, with many more afterward.

Armstrong said even though the city could potentially reap millions of dollars from the stimulus money, the process has been frustrating so far.

“I have sent things out and spent more time on this stimulus, along with my department heads, than probably what we’re going to benefit. We’ve got probably about $168 million worth of projects that we’re going to send in,” Armstrong said. “If we get a $1.25 then we get $1.25. Nobody really knows how this is going to work. I mean nobody.”

The city has, or will submit requests regarding many municipal projects, including street and road repairs, sewage treatment plant fixes, and a tower for the Columbus Regional Airport. Armstrong also said the city needs to build up its infrastructure to avoid floods like those of last June.

“Those are the things that are really needed. But as a municipality, I would never be able to afford those,” he said.

Armstrong said if the city receives money from the stimulus package, he hopes city officials will be allowed to choose local companies to use on projects.

“Who knows if that bidding process where those people [selected] will be local or not? Would we like it? Absolutely. We would love it,” he said. “But again, that shoe may not fit every city. But I’m hoping it does [fit Columbus].”

Governor Mitch Daniels said the state will receive $4.3 billion from the stimulus package.

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