Sedgwick County Considers Local Stimulus Plan

By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email
By: Jennifer Bocchieri Email

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some Sedgwick County Commissioners want to do locally what the President and Congress did nationally.

"My thoughts are we need to prepare ourselves to choose what kind of economic stimulus we might be able to come up with should we have to," said Commissioner Gwen Welshimer.

The idea is when they divvy up budget money this spring and summer to set some cash aside for a possible stimulus package to spur the local economy even more.

The plan is a new one, so commissioners aren't sure how much money they're talking about yet or exactly what it would go toward.

But ideas so far include setting up a system to help people pay tuition for aviation technical training or giving homeowners a property tax credit for recycling.

"I just want to see some creative thinking. Some ways we can really make a difference and help out in this situation as a county," said Welshimer.

There's already plenty of dispute over the effectiveness of the national plan so just how popular will an additional local stimulus be?

"I would be all for it I think it would be great. I think we need to do something to help the economy here and the people that are being laid off," said local resident Michelle Rueter.

"I'm not exactly sure what I think of the first stimulus let alone having another one here," said resident Deric East.

"I would just like to see where the money was coming from," said another local resident Ben McKinnie.

And just where the money will come from to pay for the plan when the county is already facing a really tight budget time is just what Commissioner Dave Unruh is concerned about.

"Adding a program at this time simply may not be possible without serious drastic cuts to other areas," said Unruh.

County commissioners will look at a more specific plan later this spring.

They are not alone in considering a local stimulus. More than 16 states and at least 30 cities and counties are preparing their own stimulus packages.

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