Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Monday, February 15, 2010

HELPING PEOPLE IN NEED

I am often asked if Nicollet County has received stimulus money. We have, but it has come in ways that most people are not aware of. There were no large sums dedicated to infrastructure projects, but we have received benefits.
In May of 2009 every one who received Social Security payments received a $250 bonus payment. Most of the recipients have probably forgotten they received the money. Likewise, all workers receiving a pay check that has income tax withheld had that amount decrease starting in April of 2009. This should allow for more take home pay to meet household expenses.
There have been many criticisms of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and like all government programs, I am sure there has been abuse. However, I can testify that the $5,112,651 that came to Nicollet County AND the other eight counties that make up the Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) was used well.
The following information comes from the MVAC annual report. "In 2009 MVAC invested $17,806,261 on behalf of people living in nine counties of south central Minnesota. The majority of those funds were spent in local businesses and with local contractors on behalf of people experiencing low income. MVAC also provided direct employment for 794 people in the nine counties it serves."
Here is a partial listing of the kind of work MVAC accomplished.
  • Weatherized 302 homes, spending $600,621 at local businesses.
  • Assisted 43 people secure loans for home improvements. These loans generated $681,707 spent at local businesses.
  • Provided 883 people with employment services. This is a 241% increase over 2008.
  • Assisted 8,359 people with heating bills. This is a 129% increase over 2008.
  • Provided 677 low-income children with quality pre-school opportunities.

A recent article in the Mankato Free Press stated, "MVAC statistics are the same as the canary in the coal mine." They are vivid indicators of what is really happening. Our work is cut out for us. end

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