Jefferson County looking for federal stimulus funds

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Commission wants to declare the entire county eligible as an economic recovery zone in an effort to land millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds.

"We are talking major things that can happen in the county on both sides," said Bettye Fine Collins, Jefferson Co. Commission President. "For our own capital needs and for the private developers."

Making the declaration will allow the county to compete for money out the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Commissioner Jim Carns hopes the county can land the money.

"Sometimes they come true and sometimes they don't," Carns said. "Those were nice dollars being thrown around out there today."

Commissioner Bobby Humphryes said this means a chance for to buy new equipment for his Roads and Tranportation Department and finish much needed road projects.

"We got a lot of roads that need work," Humphryes said. "We need to look countywide to paving countywide."

The county is rushing to put together a list of project by the March 31st deadline. Some commissioners are questioning why they did not know about the federal funds until almost the last moment.

"If we don't apply for the money or the cities apply for it, then the money reverts back to the state and the state can apply for it," Humphryes said. "Infer what you want there."

Private developers can also take part. Collins said Bayer Properties wants to renovate the old Pizitz building.

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