What is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?
The United States Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Jan. 6, 2009. On Feb. 17, 2009 President Barack Obama signed the act, referred to informally as the economic stimulus program or plan. The full text of the Act is available online.
What is the Act supposed to do?
The purposes of the act are to:
- Preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery.
- Assist those most impacted by the recession.
- Provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health.
- Invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
- Stabilize state and local government budgets, in order to minimize and avoid reduction in essential services and counterproductive state and local tax increases.
What are stimulus funds?
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is informally referred to as the federal stimulus plan. The funds that have been set aside are designed to jump-start the economy, promoting economic recovery and growth.
Most of the stimulus money will be distributed through the states. This includes money that the states will get to divide, as they want, but some will devolve to local governments by formula. Some money is being distributed on a regional basis through metropolitan planning organizations.
Will these dollars solve our budgetary issues?
City officials recognize that the stimulus is not a cure-all for local budget problems. States are able to use some stimulus funds to shore up general revenue accounts, but local governments don't have that option. Money for cities is mostly for capital projects. Stimulus funds cannot be relied on to fix holes in general fund budgets.
The City of Clearwater is actively pursuing stimulus funds. The following funds (listed by department) have been requested:
Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Recovery - Prisoner Transport System. The city requests $383,713 for this purpose. A countywide project with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office to transport Clearwater prisoners to the Pinellas County jail, thus freeing Clearwater officers back into service more quickly.
JAG Recovery Act funding - $100,000. Funding will allow Clearwater to contract with the Hispanic Outreach Center for the provision of victim advocacy, gang prevention, and interpreter/translation services. The funding will allow the HOC to hire a full time victim advocate and a gang prevention specialst.
Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) - Energy Efficiency Improvements/Lighting - $1, 075,400. City has contracted with Honeywell to perform audits of several city buildings to see where the stimulus money could be spent to generate maximum energy savings for the City.
Diesel Emissions Reduction Act - Environmental Protection Agency - 25% of Vehicle Replacement. Funds requested to offset portion of purchase cost for one hybrid refuse (garbage) truck.
Department of Energy (DOE) - Transportation Electrification - Fully funds retrofit of conventional refuse trucks into hybrid trucks. The test will involve 20-30 existing diesel trucks and last about two years. There is no direct cost to the City, but some limited in-kind staff hours will be contributed to the project.
Transportation Enhancement Funds - East Avenue Section of Pinellas Trail - $313,596. Project provides for construction on the East Avenue section of the Pinellas Trail, creating a lane for bicycles.
The U.S. Environmental Protection - $400,000. Grant funds to be used in Clearwater's designated brownfields area to conduct community-wide Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments; cleanup planning; implementation of a public health monitoring plan; support of community outreach activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will citizens be eligible to receive funds directly?
Stimulus funds will provide increases in weekly unemployment benefits and food stamps; training programs for unemployed workers; and federal income tax credits to consumers who purchase Energy Star appliances.
State Revolving Fund loans to the city will not mean that utilities customers will get a rebate, or even that there will be no rate hikes in the future. Debt service is one component of utility rates and other variables, such as employee salaries and the cost of chemicals and other supplies, could eat up any savings that State Revolving loans would bring to the debt service. Rate increases could be lower than they would be because of State Revolving loan money.
The city's Housing Division will receive an additional $251,549 in Community Development Block Grant-R 2009 Economic Stimulus Funds. Those funds are provided to qualifying individuals through our community housing partners. Please contact the following to see if you are eligible:
Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. - (727) 442-4155
Community Service Foundation - (727) 461-0618
Homes for Independence - (727) 538-7370, ext. 357
Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County - (727) 536-4755
Tampa Bay Community Development Corporation - (727) 442-7075
Any other inquiries should be directed to the city's Housing Office at (727) 562-4036.
Local businesses may receive subcontracts on individual city projects.
What is meant by the term transparency in government?
President Obama wants a new level of "transparency" as state and local governments spend economic-stimulus dollars. The purpose of transparency is to avoid wasteful spending and to ensure accountability. State and local governments are being asked to spend stimulus funds quickly, but also to account for every dollar according to federal rules that were still being written late in April of this year. This website, as well as the state and federal sites for stimulus funds, help provide transparency for residents.
Other Helpful Resources
|Federal Stimulus Funding
||Net Grant Amount
||JAG Recovery - Prisoner Transport System (Awarded 10/1/09)
|Hispanic Outreach Center Partnership - 2009 Byrne JAG Recovery Program (Awarded 12/17/09)
||Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (Awarded 9/18/09)
||Transportation Enhancement Funds
||Recovery Act - Hazardous Substances & Petrol - EPA
||Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Infrastructure Program (Fueling Station - Hercules Ave.) (Awarded 2/26/10)
|Economic Development & Housing
||CDBG-R (Awarded 5/21/09)