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Economic stimulus money?

Paul Barkla

If the federal government distributes economic stimulus money for public projects, County Board Chairman Paula Barkla wants Pierce to get a piece of the action.

Last week the Wisconsin Counties Association forwarded a request from Gov. Jim Doyle's office for lists of municipal building or road projects that could be considered for economic stimulus funding.

Barkla, who is also acting county administrator, said he received the e-mail Monday, Jan. 5, and the response was due by noon Wednesday, Jan. 7.

"We got it in at three minutes to 12," he said.

"There really wasn't a lot of time to talk to anyone," said Barkla. "So I had a little wish list."

The list he sent includes a new justice center, estimated cost $25 million; new bridges on county roads F and U, $4 million; courthouse rehabilitation, $5 million; an agri-business incubator building, $3 million; a new waste treatment plant for Ellsworth, $1 million; resurfacing of Hwy. 65 between Ellsworth and River Falls; and a new marina on Lake Pepin in Bay, $600,000.

"I'm wishing that we get about $45 million," said Barkla.

Instructions were to give priority to projects that can be done in six months, that are "green" or renewable or that are school-related.

The counties were also to identify projects as either ready to start within 180 days or after 180 days.

"They were looking at both short-term and long-range things," said Barkla.

He said the county already has design plans for the two bridges, although work on them isn't scheduled until 2010 and 2011.

The estimate for the judicial center is based on a facility he visited recently and liked, said Barkla. Other estimates were based on the best available information.