Two members of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors were in Washington D.C. this week lobbying for stimulus funds for Yolo County infrastructure projects.
Supervisors Helen Thomson and Jim Provenza along with intergovernmental affairs manager Petrea Marchand are working with delegates to try to get funding for a list of 21 projects totaling over $100 million.
Marchand said the projects were prioritized according to whether they are “ready to go,” whether the stimulus provides funding for that type of project and what kind of additional benefits, beyond work from construction, the project could potentially create.
Officials estimate that all but two of the projects will be ready to be bid on by the end of the year, and every one of the projects can be completed by 2010.
“We have no shortage of needs,” said deputy county administrator Dirk Brazil.
Projects with potential for funding are widely varied and include road improvements, new county facilities or expansion of old ones and equipment and technology upgrades.
Yolo County is not expecting to have all or most of the projects funded by stimulus money, Brazil said.
“On any kind of list like that, if you can get your first two or three, that’s great,” he said.
The top two or three of these projects alone, however, could be significant.
Second on the list are plans for constructing a new Child Welfare Services building, a project with an estimated total cost of $18 million.
Much of the money for this and other projects will be going to the private sector for contractors and materials, and if at all possible, Brazil said, Yolo County wants to keep that money in the community by hiring locally.
Benefits to the county can extend beyond employment resulting from initial construction, said Yolo County General Services director Ray Groom.
The county’s top priority, improvements to the County Airport, has the ability to generate lasting income, Groom said.
“There’s a lot of revenue generated by people who use our airport.“
Costing $1.2 million, significantly less than some of the other priorities, this project would fill in unpaved spaces at the airport allowing more room for hangars for patrons to park their airplanes.
Groom said this might draw jet owners away from the Bay Area and attract developers wanting to lease the land from the county to build hangars.
More private airplanes means pilots would likely live in Yolo County and there could be an increased demand for airplane service technicians employed by the airport.
Aside from these benefits, Yolo County also collects personal property tax from anyone parking their airplane in the Yolo County Airport. They also receive a portion of the tax revenue created by selling jet fuel.
“It’s just good for our economy,” Groom said.
While county officials remain optimistic, they will not know how many, if any, of their projects will be eligible for funding until after the final version of the stimulus bill is passed and signed into law.
JON GJERDE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. XXX