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City ready for stimulus cash

Posted: June 12, 2009 8:22 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Whether or not a check is in hand, Santa Clarita officials are set to move forward on projects funded by federal stimulus money.

The city has been promised about $13.5 million in allocated funding and has been applying for another $7.9 million in competitive grants.

City spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said the city has been told it will be reimbursed for any money it spends on projects that fall under the allocated federal funding.

Given the state of the economy, she said the decision to move ahead with spending the city’s money on projects will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The dollars snagged by the city are but a drop in the bucket of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved earlier this year by President Barack Obama.

By early fall, the city plans to launch into five infrastructure projects — such as road work and right-turn lanes — for which $5.175 million has been allocated, administrative analyst Patrick Bryant said.

While Bryant expects the final price tag to surpass that amount, he said the federal dollars represent the lion’s share of funding.

Bryant said final authorization on the projects is expected later this month, and contracts will likely be awarded in August.

The $7.9 million in grant money for which Santa Clarita is competing includes $2.7 million to remove arrundo — a tall grass — from a 297-acre swath of the Santa Clara River. Bryant said he expects to hear whether the city has received the grant in the next few weeks.

Another grant application would require $4.62 million to install solar canopies and car ports at the city’s Transit Maintenance Facility.

“We feel confident,” Bryant said Friday. “We think we’ve put forth projects we’re ready to implement.

“I think we’re very progressively attacking the recovery plan.”

Last week, President Obama expressed his dissatisfaction with the progress being made in distributing money under his $787 billion economic recovery plan. The White House acknowledged it had spent only $44 billion, or 9 percent of the total, not counting funds devoted to tax relief.

Bryant said there are no worries that Santa Clarita might not be reimbursed for money it spends before the stimulus dollars show up.

“We’ve been given no reason to have those concerns,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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