Some of the more than 100 local projects on the state’s draft list of projects “ready to go” when President-elect Barack Obama releases economic stimulus funds have already had funds allocated, local officials say.
Among them: $38 million for Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and another for nearly $3 million for the Sauquoit Valley Central School District.
“This is not anything new,” Sauquoit Valley Superintendent Deborah Flack said of the money for her district. “This is money we had planned on.”
And at the Department of Transportation, some projects were also already on the docket.
Such inclusions on the list make some local officials and state experts question whether the state is trying to use the stimulus money to pay for projects it already was slated to fund.
“My concern is that these are projects that commitments had already been made (for) and they are looking for the feds to come in and bail them out,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said. “I don’t think that’s what the stimulus package was meant to do.”
Paterson’s office called the list a “working draft” that could be changed or expanded, a Paterson spokesman said. The governor also plans to involve local officials as the process moves forward, the spokesman said.