Milking the Stimulus
After all, somebody's got to
May 09, 2009Whoever gets the coveted "project-funding manager" job that may soon be up for grabs in Washington will certainly be one busy guy. Just reading the various job descriptions wore me out. According to Washington Police Chief Mick Reed and Washington's own Stimulus- Funding Coordinator, Bianca Gentile, the new job will require someone to –
** "do public-facilities planning, strategic planning and community-services planning"
** the primary job is to "assist with law enforcement and local development issues,"
** "oversee the effort to obtain (new police station) funding, then shift to coordinating the expenditure of those funds, including compiling and filing reports and other documentation required by funding sources."
** not simply "seek funds just for the police department, but also "help find funding opportunities for other city departments."
** "… make sure we don't miss a funding opportunity."
** do all of this on a part-time basis.
Someone who can do all of that and in only 20 hours a week? Priceless!
No, really – 'Priceless'. As in, 'the-city-won't-have-to-pay-for-it.' How cool is that?
The City hopes to pay the new "project-funding manager" to identify available Stimulus money using a $40,234 grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program which, in turn, receives funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as Obama's Generational Theft Act and All-Around Boondoggle of 2009.
The program will issue a straight out grant, no matching funds required, which means the City will get its new "project-funding manager," as well as any other projects he may be able to charge to Washington's Stimulus-backed debit card, at no cost, to the City.
However, according to the Bureau of Justice Assistance website, "No Recovery JAG funds may be used directly or indirectly to provide for … construction projects (other than penal or correctional institutions)", nor could we find evidence of Stimulus money available for city employees hired specifically to find even more Stimulus money to satisfy a handful of greedy city managers who have no idea where the Stimulus money comes from in the first place.
As we understand it, the "project" is a new police station, the "funding" is grant money and the "manager" is the person who will make the magic happen without the City having to cut a single check.
But the job doesn't end there with just a new police station. The new part-time employee will stick around to help find money for other city departments that want something as well. However, planning and organizing funds for, oh, let's say a new Dalmatian for the Fire Department, is not within the JAG's criteria for a grant. Who, then, will pay for the "project-funding manager" when he is researching the Stimulus for money not related to law enforcement?
But wait, the city already has someone whose job it is to identify stimulus funds that Washington can grab up for its own use. In March, Washington hired a "stimulus coordinator". The WDN said, "Even at a time when citizens are closely scrutinizing the spending priorities of their local governments, hiring an expert to pursue stimulus money sounds like a wise move to us. Now, let's see what that person can accomplish."
It appears Bianca Gentile, Washington's Stimulus Coordinator, has accomplished at least one thing - she has identified a need for another position, identical to hers, in the city.
"Local, state and federal government leaders must ensure that eastern North Carolina gets its fair share of stimulus funds," so Washington hired Gentile to identify and secure the money that will pay for "a priority list of projects that total nearly $25 million."
To put it in perspective, Washington hired a Stimulus Coordinator whose job is to get as much of the $787bn of our grandchildren's money as possible so the City can spend it. She, in turn, is advocating for another office to be responsible for sniffing out Stimulus money for, first, Washington's Police Department and, after that, any other department that wants money for projects.
To think that folks laughed at Reagan's 'Trickle down' economics …
The City needs to get movin' as it seems that part of the criteria for receiving money is the receiving city's ability to spend the money fast. At the N.C. Sustainable Energy Conference held on April 15, State Energy Office Director Larry Shirley "mentioned that the selection criteria for these particular funds will prioritize quick job creation, lasting and sustainable job creation, and quick ability to spend the funds (just like all the other areas of the stimulus package)."
The City has a list of projects totaling $25m that it wants our children to finance, though, according to City Manager James C. Smith, "If we get a million dollars, we're going to be ecstatic."
No word yet on how Mr. Smith will feel if the "project-funding manager" can come up with $4.2m of our children's future paychecks to build a new police station.
Chief Reed illustrated the thinking of the City fathers when he said, "We don't want to spend a dime more of the local taxpayers' money than we have to."
We were not aware that only 49 states will be paying out the wazoo for Obama's Crapulus Plan. Doesn't Reed know that the money he, Smith, Gentile and the rest of the powers-that-be in Washington are so 'ecstatic' to get will come at a great cost to every tax paying Washingtonian?
Assuming 90 million tax filers actually pay taxes, the $787 billion Stimulus Bill means the average taxpayer will pay over $8,700.
"With the stimulus bill, the $700 billion financial bailout (half spent by Bush and half by Obama), and the bailout for the auto companies, this year's deficit is already at about $1.7 trillion — almost $19,000 per taxpayer."
However, Obama has more in store for us. Says John R. Lott, Jr., "The amount of money that the government is committing to spend this year is equivalent to the average taxpayer just writing the government a check today for $62,200."
Of course, those are just figures for next year's tax payers. Add the interest on Obama's budget for this year to whatever he levies against us throughout the rest of his term in office, divide by the number of Americans that pay taxes and, if your head hasn't exploded by the time you finish, take a gander at the resulting figures.
We wonder which Washington citizen's tax check will pay for the new "project-funding manager." Moreover, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant is a one-time only grant. Who will pick up the tab for the "project-funding manager" when that year has ended?
Oh, one last thing – it is a condition of the JAG grant process that "applicants must provide an opportunity for the public to comment on their Recovery JAG application."
The Stimulus Bill was rammed through, public opinion be damned. The City is required to hold a meeting and to open it to public comments. It is not required that the public attend and make comments; however, citizens – and the over 200 Patriots at Washington's Tea Party – should remember Jeff Mixon of Civitas and "Show up!" After all, we're gonna pay for it, one way or another; we may as well have a say in how it's spent.
The Washington City Council meets at 4:30 p.m., Monday, in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 102 E. 2nd St.