Spending the Stimulus looks at the city government

"Did it create any jobs from these projects?” the reporter asked.

“The city itself that I know of, no," Nichole Spivey, Transportation Planner, Dothan, said.

So the question is how can a city, which received $5.8 million to put people back to work through the federal stimulus bill, not create a single job.

"We do have some stimulus money. It’s Department of Energy money that we are actually purchasing led replacements for our existing incandescent traffic signal bulbs. That is about $160,000 of bulbs that we are replacing,” said Charles E. Metzger, Asst. Public Works Director.

In fact, Dothan received $665,400 from the Department of Energy to make the city more energy efficient.

"We used to retrofit several buildings with modern lighting, and the energy grant is to reduce consumption of the power," said Mike West, Dothan City Manager.

But that’s just pennies compared to the $3 million the city is scheduled to receive from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“It’s paying for part of the sewer improvements we’re seeing done at little Choctawhatchee as well as the new water tank. Not all of it, but part of it," Mike West said.

Dothan did contract out about $1.3 million for shovel ready projects, meaning people can work right away.

"The only projects that we were able to do in that amount of time are projects that you know resurfacing. So, simple, I shouldn't say simple, those types of projects," Nichole Spivey said.

These resurfacing and engineering projects include work to be done on Honeysuckle Road for a combined total of $766,000, and Westgate Parkway, which will cost $641,000.

These jobs were contracted to APAC Midsouth, an asphalt and construction company. I was denied an interview, but was told by a public relations representative that the company did not hire any new workers. Instead they conducted "brought backs", which means giving work hours to crews sitting dormant.

When the stimulus funds are gone, the city plans to go back to normal.

"Having additional funds is always a nice thing. We don’t plan for that type of thing. This is kind of a bonus for us. Obviously it helps accelerate some projects for us, but we will just be back to business and within our budget. That’s all we can do, " Charles E. Metzger said.


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