City preps to seek a cut of stimulus package

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By Jesef Williams

Lancaster City Council has identified projects that could possibly receive funding under Barack Obama’s proposed stimulus package.

Earlier this month, Obama unveiled the multi-billion dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which is projected to foster short- and long-term economic growth through the creation of jobs that focus on energy use and infrastructural needs.

At Tuesday’s meeting, City Council unanimously approved 13 projects that will now be sent to the Catawba Regional Council of Governments, which will help local municipalities prepare their requests.

“We have all heard about the impending economic stimulus package President-elect Obama has proposed,” said senior planner Mike Vead of Catawba Regional in an e-mail to the city.

“In order to be ready to take advantage of this funding, we are putting together a list of regional projects that will be ready to go to bid on short notice once the particulars of the package are announced,” Vead said.

The city’s 13 proposed projects total more than $15 million.

The first-priority project is to upgrade the city’s existing wastewater treatment plant disinfection system and also install chemical feed equipment, which will cost $1.4 million.

The most expensive project is improvements to the storm-water system on North Main Street from Woodland Drive to Meeting Street. That project will run $4 million.

The least expensive is $75,000 – the painting of an existing water tank and refurbishing a PS booster.

City Administrator Helen Sowell told council that she doesn’t know if any of the projects will be funded or if any money will become available.

“There may be no stimulus package,” Sowell said. “This is simply our effort to be ready.”


Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152