Waning stimulus cash may be last Miami-Dade sees
By Ashley Hopkins
In nearly two years Miami-Dade received almost a quarter-billion federal stimulus dollars and created about 5,000 jobs, but as funds run out and projects are finished, county officials are beginning to question whether more money, and more jobs, may ever come down the pipeline.
The county had sought $601.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and had received $247.7 million, resulting in creation of 3,481 direct, eight indirect and 1,448 contracted jobs, according to an Oct. 15 report from County Manager George Burgess. This amounts to about $50,000 per position.
According to Dan Wall, director of the Office of Grants Coordination, while county officials should issue another report in upcoming months, it's unknown when they'll provide that update or how much numbers might have risen.
As projects near completion, job creation has slowed, Mr. Wall said, adding that there may not be many more opportunities for the county to get stimulus funds. While in the past the county has worked to promote shovel-ready projects, Mr. Wall said any more money to come out of Washington would most likely be in education-related fields, benefitting the public schools.
Based on October's quarterly report, most jobs created were contracted projects through the Public Works Department and the Housing and Community Development Department.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization got $56.2 million from the Federal Highway Administration for its Surface Transportation Program. These funds can be used for construction improvements on federal highways, public roads, bus terminals and transit facilities. Funds resulted in 78 direct and 1,154 contracted positions, about $46,000 per job.
The Public Housing Agency got $19.3 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for 74 projects to improve energy efficiencies in public housing units. As a result, 23 direct and 294 contracted positions were created or retained, amounting to about $61,000 per job.
The Office of Community and Economic Development got a $4.9 million US Department of Housing and Urban Development block grant to provide housing improvements to residents with low to moderate income, maximize job retention and do infrastructure projects. The grant resulted in five jobs, at about $977,000 each.
Miami-Dade's Community Action Agency got nearly $9.3 million from the US Department of Health and Human Services to finance Head Start programs, resulting in 70 teaching and administrative posts. This amounts to about $133,000 per job. Funds are being used to provide comprehensive health, educational, nutritional and social services to low-income children, to increase the number of families receiving service, and to give employees training and technical assistance.
The Transit Department got $1.1 million from the Federal Transit Administration for metrorail improvements, resulting in five positions, and $7.5 million to upgrade signs, resulting in six positions. Taken together, this amounts to about $786,000 per job.
Miami-Dade County and some cities are helping homeowners "green" their homes
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