Gilbert applying for federal stimulus aid - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Gilbert applying for federal stimulus aid

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Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:23 pm | Updated: 1:42 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Gilbert officials hope to get 10 police officers, a new fire station, a sewer system for one of the oldest parts of town and a new pedestrian trail out of the just-passed federal stimulus package.

Should the funding come through, the only question will be whether the town has the money to keep the officers and complete the projects.

Gilbert will be competing with municipalities across the United States for $1 billion set aside within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for a program that will pay base entry-level officer salaries for three years.

But each officer hired will cost another $82,500 over the three-year period that isn't covered by the program, and they must be retained after the three years is up, Town Manager George Pettit told the Town Council Tuesday.

There are no plans to add more police officer positions to the budget over the next three years, Pettit said. The infusion of cash would allow the town to put a resource officer at the new Campo Verde High School and put the town a little closer to the council's stated goal of having 1.1 officers for every 1,000 residents.

That figure is now barely above 1 per 1,000 and is expected to go down as Gilbert continues to grow, albeit not as quickly as it did over the last decade.

The council voted 7-0 to move forward with all of the projects.

"Chances are we're not going to get all of it, but we might as well apply for it," Councilman Les Presmyk said.

Pettit said town staff will continue to look for other options in the stimulus package. The other projects officials think will qualify for are:

Construction of Fire Station No. 10, which has been designed but not yet built near Guadalupe and McQueen roads. Money would come from a Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighter grant. These grants have required matching contributions from local jurisdictions but sometimes they are waived.

If the $7.5 million station were to be built, one of the town's two response units would move in to staff it until more firefighters could be hired. The station would cost about $100,000 a year for Gilbert to maintain.

The initial phases of two trails that Gilbert had planned to use federal funding on. The town has federal environmental clearances required by the stimulus act. The work would cost $5.7 million. The town had expected to pay $2.4 million of it, but it could pursue other grants to bring that number down.

A sewer system and other improvements for the Sonora Town neighborhood at Warner and Gilbert roads. The work would be done with an additional $180,000 in Community Block Development Grant money Gilbert officials expect will be available to them through the federal act. No matching funds would be required.

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