Local governments making plans for possible stimulus money

Biloxi's Public Safety Center
Biloxi's Public Safety Center

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Wednesday, President Barack Obama warned that if Congress doesn't move quickly on a $900 billion program, the recession could turn into a "catastrophe." As the debate rages on in Washington, some of our local governments are already making plans on how to spend any share of the stimulus money that might come their way.

Biloxi has designed a third floor addition to Public Safety Complex to be its new EOC, but the city doesn't have the money to build. Recently a call went out for local governments to tell the federal government about their needs.

"Really the President didn't have to say it twice that if you've got some projects that are ready to go, we want to know about it," said City of Biloxi Spokesman Vincent Creel. "The mayor jumped right on it. We sent it right away."

Biloxi's $120 million wish list includes road and drainage projects, a new fire station and extending Popp's Ferry Road. All are projects the city believes will give the economy a jump start.

"It would put people to work and improve our quality of life," Creel said. "That's really what you want with the stimulus package. To not only to have an immediate impact, but to have long term improvements in place."

Harrison County leaders say building new infrastructure and hiring more sheriff's deputies are among the ideas being tossed around for stimulus spending.

District Supervisor Connie Rockco said, "We're in the process of trying to work out our last details. I have not got all the things together because I would like to speak to the cities and make sure we're not duplicating efforts and going after the same thing."

Rockco said while helping the economy is important, she worries the eventual price may be too high.

"I do feel it's very important for  the United States government legislature to concentrate on the immediate need which is housing and infrastructure, and maybe not load the stimulus bill with a lot of pork that will leave the generations and generations to come a huge bill to have to pay," she said.

Harrison County officials say they will submit their request through the South Mississippi Planning and Development District by the 17th. Biloxi officials say they have already sent their request through the United States Conference of Mayors.