Town's leaders fear stimulus funds won't be enough for small town

By Arnold Wyrick
HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package is geared to ingest billions of dollars into our nations economy and create millions of jobs, but some local leaders in southern Illinois fear there may not be enough funds to go around.
A drainage ditch on the northwest side of Herrin is just one of the projects Mayor Vic Ritter says he'd like to fix with stimulus funds.
"Truthfully I don't think we'll get very much if anything," Mayor Ritter said. "These are shovel ready jobs. I think the states will pick off what they want and the crumbs they let go of will go to the bigger cities in the state."
That's not what Barbara Bailie and her neighbors want to hear when it comes to fixing the drainage problems on the ditch running through their backyards.
"It floods badly," she said. "I've lost garden after garden because of the floods. When we first moved here I had railroad ties around my garden and when it flooded that ties went down, there's a lot of water when it rains hard."
Barbara along with her neighbors are also burdened financially by the excess waters flowing in the ditch.
"Because of that ditch they consider us a flood plane, and we have to have insurance," Bailie said.
Another part of Herrin the mayor and city leaders would like to fix is the sewer and water pipes in the Starlight Court subdivision.
A project that could total more than $125,000.
"You have to be shovel ready is what their terminology is, that means within in a 120 days of the money being appropriated to you, you have to start on the project," Ritter said. "That includes any EPA permits, anytime we have to advertise for contracts. It's going to be tough for us to do."