Local Leaders Ready for Stimulus Plan

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

It's a chance for West Texas cities to cash in on a new stimulus package geared to kick start our economy. Local city leaders are already checking off their wish list.

It's a big portion of President Elect Obama's stimulus plan, restoring city infrastructure and consequently creating new opportunities. Cities here in West Texas say they could use a piece of that pie too.

"This is the first time we've seen an emphasis on the stimulus plan that comes down to the city level," Odessa Mayor Larry Melton said.

In Odessa, the City Manager is working with department heads to find out where the greatest needs are and what might qualify under Obama's stimulus plan.

"I think Odessa certainly needs the water, sewer, and roads infrastructure as much as anything," Mayor Melton said. "That would certainly be a priority."

But the problems seem to be universal, Big Spring says they're getting a list ready too.

"The biggest priority would be the streets, the water and sewer," Big Spring Mayor Russ McEwen said. "Those are major infrastructure problems that are very difficult to address on our current budget."

"What we're doing right now is we're gearing up to make sure that we are ready to write the grants that are needed and be in a position where we can make a strong case for the reason that some of those dollars should be spent in Big Spring," Mayor McEwen said.

Big Spring leaders say they've got more problems than money to fix them.

"If in fact we can get dollars for these types of projects, it is a monumental difference for us," McEwen said. "We're going to be able to do construction we haven't been able to do, so it can make a tremendous amount of difference."

The plan also gives hope for job creation.

"We've got a lot of city work to do, work on the parks, work on the roads, and so forth," Mayor Melton said.