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Cities, county eligible for Federal stimulus funds

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By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post

Local governments and schools will benefit in several ways from funds available due to the federal stimulus programs.

Wilson County, Lebanon and Mt Juliet law enforcement agencies are each eligible to apply for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA.

The three local agencies are eligible for more than $150,000, with the county eligible for $73,834, Lebanon assigned $116,487 and Mt Juliet able to get $26,621. No local match dollars will be required for these grant awards, said Ben Stewart of the Greater Nashville Regional Council.

The grants, administered by U.S. Department of Justice, are to support innovative projects to reduce criminal activity, provide services for victims of crime and promote overall enhancement of the criminal justice system in Tennessee, Stewart said.

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead has also been working to obtain other funds from the ARRA for the city.

Craighead, Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Baines and City Planner Magi Tilton have been working with the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Regional Transportation Authority the past few weeks in developing the project list for the Nashville Area MPO, which includes Lebanon, the mayor said.

As a result, the following transit-related projects related to the Music City Star commuter train were recommended by the MPO Executive Board for stimulus funding at a meeting this week:

• Commuter rail locomotives and related equipment stimulus award $1.2 million, • a Martha Station stimulus award $2 million.

The $3.2 million would provide necessary equipment for the Music City Star and a permanent rail station at Martha-Leeville Road off Highway 109, which now has a temporary station.

“We are very appreciative of these funds to further enhance our commuter rail service,” Craighead said. “The city is also working with the MPO and Tennessee Department of Transportation to obtain other stimulus-related highway transportation funding for Lebanon, and we will have future announcements about this when more complete information is available.”

He added that the city is definitely in line for one other highway construction project, but it would require additional funding either from the city or from other grants or partners.Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis said he expects the school system to also receive benefits from the ARRA.

Earlier this year the Deputy Commissioner of Education notified the county that some programs, such as the family service centers and other student assistance programs, would have funding cut at the state level, Davis said, but now those programs are expected be reinstated with funding from ARRA.

Davis also said he thinks all Tennessee schools will receive at least some funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, programs, several of which are scheduled for funding under the ARRA..

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com.

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