Stimulus to boost employment, Dixon says

March 11, 2009|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com

Standing in a conference room in the city's Eastside One-Stop Career Center at 3001 E. Madison St. yesterday, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon said she wants to focus federal stimulus money on projects that will maintain and create city jobs.

The mayor said that she hears every day from people who have lost their jobs.

"I've been unemployed," Dixon said. "I know what it is like to only receive an unemployment check."

Dixon announced that a team of top city government officials and community leaders, including her former mentor and former City Councilwoman Vera Hall, will oversee how the stimulus money is spent and track its impact.

Noting that President Barack Obama has stressed "transparency" in stimulus spending, Dixon announced that the city is creating a Web site that will provide information about each project and will give residents a chance to apply for jobs.

The state has a similar Web site: http://statestat.maryland.gov/recovery.a sp.

It is not yet clear how much funding the city will receive from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but officials expect about $30 million for transportation and housing projects.

Despite the money, the city still has a budget shortfall of tens of millions of dollars, and deep cuts to city agencies are still expected next week when Dixon brings her budget to the Board of Estimates.

However, the mayor said the city hopes to receive new federal crime grants that could stave off cuts to police overtime.

Information on how the city spends federal stimulus dollars will be available at http://Recovery.BaltimoreCity.gov.

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