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Where’s My Stimulus?

Posted by Morgan Miles Craft On 12:50 PM
Where’s My Stimulus?
Entering the Labyrinthine World of Recovery Act Funds Tracking
By Morgan Craft

Just under one year ago today, Congress passed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, (ARRA). California has to date received $8,180,536,434 of the $18,534,842,086 in Federal Recovery Act stimulus funds it has been awarded. While much of the money remains in the pipeline, debate rages, not only over whether the Act itself was a good idea, but whether those federal funds are actually reaching the Coachella Valley.

Interpretation of the information may be determined on whether or not you support the government bailout, or your belief that the stimulus will make a difference. For regular folk, tracking the information and getting answers can be a challenge, and many of the people you ask will send you to federal, state, and county and city websites for verification. (Click to read more...)
With so many billions in funds available so quickly, verification of worthy projects has caused a backlog in the approval process. Governments at all level are wary of fraud and misrepresentation. Vice President Biden has been tasked with overseeing the funds’ distribution and to watch for fraud. In this monumental task he’s being assisted by former Secret Service fraud investigator Earl Devaney, who heads up the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board.

To ensure the stimulus dollars get to their destinations, the California Assembly formed the Stimulus, Economic Recovery and Jobs Task Force (SERJ), to work with local governments on developing strategies to implement ARRA in the state.  Indio’s own Assembly member V. Manuel Perez of the 80th District heads the task force, the body responsible for allocation of California's share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package.  Rob Field, Assistant County Executive Officer, was designated as the Riverside County Economic Recovery Funds Stimulus Officer, and his office will be tracking all the Recovery Act funding coming to all County departments and agencies.

Governor Schwarzenegger also created the California Office of Inspector General to oversee that the more than $50 billion in federal stimulus dollars is spent wisely and well. Inspector General Laura Chick says that, “My mission is to DETER, DETECT and DISCLOSE any fraud, waste and abuse of these precious dollars. Every cent should be used for the purpose the monies were intended…revving up our economy, creating jobs and public benefits that endure.”

45th District Congresswoman Mary Bono-Mack, who voted against the bill, publicly stated in November that, “residents of Riverside County are still waiting to see the results – and jobs – we so desperately need. Even after borrowing a trillion dollars from future generations and putting our nation into even greater debt by this so-called ‘stimulus’, we’re still not seeing the jobs that were promised. Washington must stop its out-of-control spending and be held accountable to the American people. At this rate of government spending, it would take over a billion dollars to create 100 jobs – this clearly reveals the inefficiency of government largesse.” It is her assertion that only 16 jobs have been created by the legislation in her district, at $8 million cost to the taxpayers per job.

That assertion doesn’t take into account the teaching and public safety jobs either saved or created by the stimulus here in the desert. The Palm Springs, Coachella and Desert Sands unified school districts received a total of $32 million to save 40 jobs and support their programs. Desert Hot Springs, Indio, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs are receiving over $4 million specifically to hire 50 more public safety officers.

In addition, the improvement projects slated for several i-10 interchanges is expected generate up to 600 jobs, with the first of those projects, at Ramon Road/Bob Hope Drive set to begin in February.

Its supporters say that the Act wasn’t meant solely as a jobs creator, but also supports programs for the needy and unemployed.
According to Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, “the Recovery Act is already at work providing essential financial relief for families and businesses here in Riverside County, creating and saving jobs, and fueling technology and infrastructure investments that will be the foundation of our economic recovery.”
The California Recovery Act Website states that Riverside County has received or will be receiving $449.84 million for 214 projects and programs in the county. San Bernardino County has been granted $682 million for 284 projects, though few will be in the high desert communities. In Riverside and San Bernardino counties at large and the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin, these include*:

Riverside County – $449.84 million for 214 projects
Palm Springs - $20.59 million for 10 projects
Palm Desert - $54K for 2 projects
Indio - $1.57 million for 2 projects
Thermal - $10.86 million for 3 projects (Coachella Valley Unified)
La Quinta - $180,700 for 1 project
Desert Hot Springs – $640K for 4 projects
Thousand Palms - $4.71 million (Sun Line)
Cathedral City $1.51 million for 2 projects

Education:
Riverside County total– $267 million

Desert Sands Unified School District – $12 million
Palm Springs Unified School District – $10 million
Coachella Valley Unified School District - $10 million

Transportation:
Riverside County total– $71 million

Interchange Reconstruction on I-10 at Gene Autry Trail/Palm Drive
$6,553,780 granted, $4,574,000 received
Interchange Reconstruction on I-10 at Ramon/Bob Hope
$34.9 million
SunLine Transit Agency - $4,714,391

Housing and Related:
Riverside County total– $26 million

Desert Highlands Associates - $4 million (For Capital investment in qualified Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects)
City of Palm Springs - $360K (retrofit of a City-owned building with energy efficient interior lighting and HVAC)
City of Palm Desert - $92K (Homeless and Food Distribution Programs)

Labor and Unemployment:
Riverside County total - $22 million

Public Safety:
Riverside County total - $19 million

City of Palm Springs - $1.7 million (COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP))
Indio - $1 million (COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP))
Cathedral City - $840K (COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP))
Desert Hot Springs - $500K (COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP))
Shelter from the Storm - $22K

Energy:
Riverside County total - $19 million

La Quinta - $180,700 for Energy Efficiency Retrofit Measures for Municipal Buildings

Water & Environment:
Riverside County - $40 million

San Bernardino County - $682 million for 284 projects
Yucca Valley - $37K for 1 project
Joshua Tree - $27K for 1 project
Twentynine Palms - $20.4 million for 13 projects (Includes Military base projects)

*(As of 12/31/09)

Sources:
Federal: www.recovery.gov
State: www.recovery.ca.gov
California Inspector General: www.inspectorgeneral.ca.gov
County: www.rivcorecovery.com
I-10 Improvement Projects Website: www.i10cvcprojects.com/

1 Response to "Where’s My Stimulus?"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    I really like this article. Straight and to the point...! Keeping the Focus at homebase....