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Stimulus money trickles into Saratoga County

President Obama's far-reaching stimulus plan and its planned effects on the economy have been the subject of much debate, but so far, the flow of aid can really be better compared to a trickle than a raging river. In Saratoga County, though, that trickle is starting to arrive, and officials hope it is just a precursor of what's to come.

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors voted to accept about $400,000 of federal funds into the 2009 county budget at its Tuesday, April 21, meeting, most of which is going to the county's Employment and Training Administration. That program, targeted at providing job training to younger residents, will receive $553,000 over two years.

It's some of the first signs of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $787 billion economic relief and stimulus package, about $326 billion of which is tax cuts. The remaining monies are earmarked in various amounts for infrastructure improvements, energy development, schools, health care and other areas. That money was distributed to states based on population, to be distributed to local governments. New York is expected to receive about $24.6 billion.

Though it's earmarked for different types of projects, the actual dispersal of the money is up to state departments, making Gov. David Paterson's office a proverbial piggy bank.

Saratoga County's slice of that pie would be tough to measure at this point, said County Administrator David Wickerham.

It's still somewhat early in the process, he said.

Officials at the county level have already submitted a list of 15 major shovel-ready projects to the governor's office. The proposals include a request for $25 million to complete the Batchellerville Bridge project in Edinburgh, $5.5 million for sewer system improvements and various highway projects.

"We have not heard back yet. Frankly, we don't know what the criteria [for selection] is going to be," continued Wickerham.

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