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14th District lands another $10 mil in stimulus funding
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff

Kane County Board member Tom Van Cleave, left, board Chairman Karen McConnaughay and Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner joke Friday while answering a question from the media after Congressman Bill Foster announced $10 million in stimulus funds.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Congressman Bill Foster discusses Friday how the 14th District will receive $10 million in stimulus money. Alongside Foster are Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay and board member Tom Van Cleave.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/27/2009 4:44 PM

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It might not be the smoothest process or everything they dreamed it would be, but local communities will take whatever money the federal stimulus package doles to them. On Friday, communities in the 14th Congressional district added another $10 million to their total.

Congressman Bill Foster announced the money will come via the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. That means communities receiving the money must put it toward energy efficiency, conservation or renewable energy efforts. Examples of eligible projects include conducting energy efficiency building audits, installing or retrofitting street lighting or traffic signals with energy efficient bulbs and creating energy efficient transportation programs such as bus rapid transit.

Aurora and Kane County will receive two of the larger portions of the $10 million. Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay both said the money will go a long way toward creating "green collar" jobs in the area and addressing one of the greatest challenges local governments face in the 21st Century.

As far as the stimulus package overall, even Foster said the gap between the goals of the stimulus and how states are administering the funds is wider than he'd hoped.

"There's a difference between how effective the state governments are being about distributing the money," Foster said. "And I think I'll leave it at that."

McConnaughay said governments are still trying to get their arms around exactly what opportunities are available through the stimulus and that may have initially overinflated hopes and dreams. She pointed to the fact that just about every county and local municipality crafted "shovel ready" transportation wish lists that topped $50 million before even knowing what money was available.

"Some folks had a very unrealistic idea of what they thought this (stimulus) was going to mean," McConnaghay said.

However, both McConnaughay and Weisner said they were pleased with the funds they've received so far. McConnaughay said, excluding transportation dollars, the county has raked in about $6 million so far from the stimulus.

"That's significant; I don't care who you are," she said.

Where the $10 million will go:

• DuPage County: $4.65 million

• Kane County: $2.47 million

• Aurora: $1.57 million

• Elgin: $1 million

• DeKalb: $186,800

• Carpentersville: $146,800