Residents to have their say on stimulus money

March 11, 2009

ave a project you've always wanted to see in Akron?

Residents will have a rare chance to let the city know how it should spend federal stimulus money during next Monday's Akron City Council meeting.

Council will set aside a portion of the regular meeting, beginning at 7 p.m., to allow citizens to propose projects and suggest programs for which the city should seek monies provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Barack Obama.

Minus tax incentives, the act provides a total of $363 billion in stimulus funds available for cities and states to apply for.

Council last night passed a resolution urging the city to actively seek any and all available state and federal funding to fuel local projects that would improve Akron's infrastructure, technology and health care systems - and ultimately create or save jobs.

"After traveling to Washington with the Mayor last week to meet with our state lawmakers to discuss a number of issues related to stimulating a healthy economy in Akron, I decided our citizens should have a similar opportunity to tell Washington what it needs too," said Council President Marco Sommerville (W-3), who offered the resolution. "We'll hold a public hearing next Monday to talk about some programs we are going to be pushing in the city, as well as to get input from the citizens as to what kinds of programs they'd like to see."

Akron could stand to benefit from monies devoted to a number of projects in agriculture, transportation, infrastructure, housing, public safety and more.  Some stimulus money has already been allocated to Ohio, including $936 million in public transportation funds, $222 million in clean water funds and $58.5 million in drinking water funds. The city has submitted lists of 53 projects eligible for the clean water and drinking water funds.