By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Can stimulus funds be used for local projects?
Placeholder Image
MONROE - Wisconsin municipalities will be learning more Friday about how they can apply for federal economic stimulus funds for infrastructure projects.

They will be receiving eligibility and criteria information for street and road projects from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The process for submitting applications for highway and fire station funding will remain unchanged.

"For local governments looking for funds, projects must be eligible under the normal highway program," Chris Klein, top aid to Frank Busalacchi, Wisconsin secretary of transportation, told The Monroe Times on Wednesday.

Projects must meet the same requirements for federal funding, he said.

"They (municipalities) have a year now" to obligate their funds, Klein said.

A DOT memo sent Feb. 6 gave municipalities a deadline of Feb. 18 to submit their project requests. Klein said the previous deadline was based on the House version of the stimulus bill, which gave municipalities 75 days to obligate funds.

"That memo was based on our best knowledge at the time," Klein said.

Klein said DOT alerted municipalities to the Feb. 18 deadline, in the event the House version of the bill were to be passed.

"We want to make sure they get the information and help they need to submit their applications. We're making every effort to help get their projects qualified," Klein said.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will release all the criteria of eligibility by Friday night and will make it available on its Web site.

The stimulus bill also has about $210 million in funds for new fire stations.

The process for fire station funds will be through competitive grant, according to Monroe Fire Chief Daryl Rausch.

"It's the same procedure as the Assistance to Firefighters grant through FEMA," Rausch said.

"The way that process works is first you submit an application, and that gets scored by computer for criteria. And then there's a peer review by firefighters across America," he said.

Rausch said he has been in contact with the program's manager.

The application process opens in July, and awards will be made in the second half of 2009. Authorization for the application submission will go through the City of Monroe Board of Public Works.

The City of Monroe has set aside land on West 17th Street for the location of a proposed second fire station. The intent is to cut emergency fire reflex time to the west side by half, in line with the National Fire Protection Association standards of 6-8 minutes.