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Stimulus money coming and coming

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By Ralph Damiani

Gov. Richardson’s announcement that Los Alamos County was getting $1.96 million for the Diamond Drive Phase III project and that Los Alamos Schools was going to get $807,000 for its special education program was good news – and bad depending on how you look at it.

Add this to the millions in federal stimulus monies that Los Alamos National Laboratory is getting and so far we have done pretty well.

The problem is that if you do not think the federal program is good at all, then this is not so good.

The governor, who spoke at Fuller Lodge Wednesday about the state’s effort to get – and spend – the federal stimulus money said that he was going to do all he could to make “sure that each community is aware of all the potential competitive grants.”

In that we cannot fault him. Like it or not, agree or not, the federal stimulus progam is there and the money is going to be spent. At this point it does not matter if we agree with the plan or not, the money is there and we need to see that we get our share.

Although, we think that it is sad, it is the reality and we would be foolish to ignore that.

An executive order signed by Richardson created an advisory team earlier to help communities throughout the state compete for grant funding available through the federal stimulus package.

The governor says the competitive grant process is the best way for many communities, especially those in rural areas, to access funding for qualified projects that will create jobs and boost the economy.

The advisory team with help the communities navigate the process.

Richardson’s executive order also officially establishes the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment, which was announced in March.

He did say that many decisions have already been made on the allocation of stimulus funds. But there was a lot of grant money to be asked for.

The governor urged everyone to go and ask for it. There is some $74 billion that could come to the state from the federal government.

Since it is there, go for it. But hold your nose doing it.