Supervisors compile stimulus wish list

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 10, 2009

NATCHEZ — As Christmas 2008 fades into a memory, the Adams County Board of Supervisors are still working on a wish list.

When it’s ready they won’t be sending it to Santa — it’s going to President-elect Barack Obama.

Board President Henry Watts said the wish list is meant to make sure Adams County gets funding from an economic stimulus package Obama is expected to implement once in office.

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While the stimulus package won’t go through until Obama’s in office, even then there’s no way to know if the program will get the congressional acceptance it needs, Watts said.

“We don’t have any guarantees,” Watts said.

But if the plan works, Watts and rest of the board will be ready.

Watts said the Mississippi Association of Supervisors has advised boards across the state to assemble a wish list of county projects they’d like funding for should the package take root.

And Watts said he believes there’s one critical element to keep in mind when making out the list.

“We have to keep it simple,” he said. “We need projects that are going to make an impact on the most amount of people and create jobs in the county.”

To impact people and create jobs, roadwork and home construction should top the county’s wish list, Watts said.

At Monday’s board meeting, Supervisor Mike Lazarus implored his fellow board members to start building a list of projects they think need funding.

“We need to be ready,” Lazarus said.

And the board is operating on a timeline.

Watts said the board has 120 days to compile and submit their requests.

“But it has to be specific,” Watts said.

The board’s submission must include prices, contractors and other details that need to be in place before any work can start.

Lazarus said since plans are still in the preliminary stages, many details haven’t been worked out.

For instance, while Watts said a list of roads in disrepair is being compiled, he’s not sure how much cash is needed to fix them.

“We’re working on that,” he said.

But Watts said he’s still exploring a Plan B in the event the Obama plan fails.

Watts said he’s currently looking at ways to acquire congressional funding not currently tied in with the Obama plan.