Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Press Release - Announces ARRA Spending by State Agencies

OFFICE OF GOV. BILL RITTER, JR.
WWW.COLORADO.GOV/GOVERNOR 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JAN. 29, 2010
 
CONTACT:
Myung Oak Kim, 303-947-5708, Myung.kim@state.co.us
 
GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES AGGRESSIVE RECOVERY ACT SPENDING BY STATE AGENCIES

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced that state agencies intensified their distribution of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to communities across Colorado. The funds paid for more than 7,200 full-time equivalent jobs during the last three months of 2009, including teaching jobs in higher education, highway construction, science research, weatherization programs and special education and other professional services at K-12 schools across the state.

“State agencies have been working with a sense of urgency to use Recovery Act funds quickly to support struggling families and to pay for jobs and infrastructure projects that will bring lasting benefits to communities across Colorado,” Gov. Ritter said. “Moving forward, we will continue to make sure that the Recovery Act provides the maximum benefit to all Coloradans and helps our economy emerge stronger than ever.”

As of Dec. 31, 2009, state agencies spent $622 million across 458 projects and funded 7,248.20 full-time equivalent jobs. That’s 91 percent of the funds received so far by state agencies. Hundreds of other businesses, non-profit groups and local agencies across Colorado are also receiving Recovery Act grants, contracts and loans. They submitted spending and job data to the federal government earlier this month. That information, including the data for funds going to state agencies, will be released on the federal Recovery Act website, www.recovery.gov, on Jan. 30.

In the last three months of 2009, Recovery Act funds:

  • Paid the salaries of almost 1,700 full-time workers at the Sterling, Arkansas Valley and Fremont correctional facilities.
  • Paid the salaries of thousands of construction workers hired for 87 highway projects.
  • Paid for hundreds of special education teachers and professionals who helped low income, disabled and homeless students in K-12 school districts across the state.
  • Preserved almost 3,400 full-time equivalent jobs across all public colleges and universities.
  • Created more than 170 full-time equivalent jobs to improve energy efficiency in low-income homes.


This job and spending information was submitted to federal agencies to comply with Section 1512 of the Recovery Act. The Recovery Act requires certain recipients to report spending and job data every three months, starting in October 2009, for at least two years. This is the second round of reporting.

At least $6.7 billion is expected to come to Colorado through more than 100 different programs, including tax cuts for 1.8 million families, increased safety net benefits and infrastructure projects that are creating or saving thousands of jobs. For more information about the Recovery Act in Colorado, visit www.colorado.gov/recovery.

Click here to view the report concerning spending and job data for Recovery Act funds administered by state agencies.

Harold Metz, 66, is one of the thousands of Coloradans who have been hired or whose job was preserved because of Recovery Act funds administered by state agencies. Metz, of Colorado Springs, was laid off in January 2009 from a custom building company that had steadily cut back employees because of lack of work. In April 2009, Mr. Metz was hired by Howard Brooks of the Energy Resource Center in Colorado Springs. The Energy Resource Center, also known as ERC, has been able to more than double the size of its weatherization program. This program provides free energy efficiency improvements to homes owned or rented by low-income families. Metz works as a field supervisor for this program. He travels to homes to oversee teams of workers who are installing new furnaces, blowing insulation into the walls and other projects that will help families see drops in their utility bills of up to 25 percent each month. ERC expects to weatherize over 400 homes this year in a 5-county region with Recovery Act funds.

Harold Metz can be reached through Myung Oak Kim, 303-947-5708.


And it’s not just individuals who are benefiting from these funds.


MS Forest LLC, a forestry company in Las Animas County, is surviving the economic downturn because of a $1 million Recovery Act grant from the Colorado State Forest Service. The company is named after Mary Shaw, who opened the business with her husband, Scott Canda in 1985 in southern Colorado. Over the years, the company grew to 53 workers. But starting in 2007, the company, located in Aguilar, just north of Trinidad, was forced to lay off workers. By the fall of 2009, the company was down to nine employees - including the Candas, their son Scott and their daughter Kassie Carley. Carley and her parents fretted about the company’s future as opportunities for work dwindled away. Then they saw the announcement about grants through the Colorado State Forest Service. Ms. Carley jumped on the opportunity and whipped together an application within weeks and hand-delivered it to the forest service office in Fort Collins in late September 2009. They learned they had won the $1 million grant a few weeks later.

“It was the best day of our lives when we found out we were going to get this grant,” Ms. Carley said.  “I had many sleepless nights in October as we awaited announcement of the recipients, knowing that if we were not awarded, we would be facing laying off the remaining few families who were depending on us.”

The grant allowed the company to hire three full-time workers they had laid off in 2007. The three men - Robert “Auggie” Franklin, Cory Miller and Michael Mender - were hired back in December 2009. The company will implement forest restoration treatments and tree thinning across 750 acres surrounding the North Lake Watershed, Trinidad’s primary source of drinking water. Forest restoration will protect the forests of the watershed from catastrophic fire, insect infestation, and disease therefore preserving the water supply for the City of Trinidad and the ranchers and residents on the Purgatoire River drainage. This project has been a top priority for the community but there was no money until the Recovery Act grant was announced.

Ms. Carley said she couldn't over-emphasize the importance of this grant. “If we didn't have this grant, M S Forest would be closed.”

Ms. Carley and the other employees at MS Forest can be reached at 719-314-9400.