Following the Money
BOISE, IDAHO - It's not hard to "follow the money" in Boise. Especially if you want to know the where's, what's and when's of how the City is spending Federal funds provided by the Congress and the President under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
That's because of the Accountable Boise Web site that, explains Mayor David Bieter, is "designed to provide detailed information regarding local projects financed" under the Act. "Our goal," he adds, "is transparency and accountability, to make sure that every dollar is spent on worthwhile projects that put Americans to work and help lead the economic recovery."
Visit the Accountable Boise site you'll find a list of every Recovery Act project the City plans to undertake. Find quarterly reports on the progress made on the projects. Find a list of the name and e-mail address of the person within each City Department responsible for its Recovery Act projects. And, maybe best of all, find a link to send a comment on what you think of the City's Recovery Act program and projects.
Projects, for example, like $348,831 in HUD Recovery Act funds the City is spending to upgrade its inventory of City-owned rental properties. As of mid-October, a document at the Accountable Boise site reports, a third of the funds already had been spent on projects like replacing the roof of Interfaith Sanctuary's emergency housing shelter, installing energy-efficient water heaters in City-owned residential properties and reviewing the entire inventory of those properties to identify needed accessibility upgrades.
Or projects like the almost $1.1 million in Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing funds from the Recovery Act. That same October report says, to date, just under half the funds had been spent to help almost 465 people hard-hit by the economic downturn to avoid homelessness.
Or projects like the $1.8 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program through which the City has begun purchasing, rehabbing and re-selling foreclosed or abandoned homes that, if they remained empty, might have a corrosive effect on otherwise vibrant Boise neighborhoods. With a quarter of these Recovery Act funds already spent, says the October report, some 36 area contractors have gotten work in what, for the construction industry, is one of the slowest periods in the last 100 years.
The kind of information you find at the Accountable Boise site about how HUD Recovery Act projects in Boise, can also be found for Recovery Act projects funded by any other Federal agency, from upgrading security at the airport to making almost 2,000 streetlights energy-efficient, from offering residential energy audits to hiring more police officers.
"Our resourceful, resilient community is better positioned than most to emerge from this economic downturn stronger, smarter and more agile than before," says Mayor Bieter. "The federal stimulus program is just one of many tools we're using so that, even during these challenging times, we continue to make Boise the most livable city in the country." And, thanks to Accountable Boise, one of the most accountable.
You'll find Accountable Boise at www.cityofboise.org/Departments/Mayor/Stimulus/index.aspx
|Content Archived: November 21, 2014|