April 30, 2009 By Steve Towns, Editor
Economic stimulus funds may jump-start city and county technology initiatives -- once local officials figure out how to get their hands on the money.
Speaking at a conference in Virginia earlier this week, CIOs from some of the nation's largest cities and counties said they quickly assembled lists of "shovel-ready" IT projects when it became clear President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus package would become law. Now they're waiting for details on how the federal government will hand out the money.
"I have 22 pages of projects that are estimated to be impacted by the stimulus -- all of them are existing programs. But we truly don't know what we'll get. The reality is that we need quantifiable information," said Harris County, Texas, CIO Steve Jennings, speaking at the Center for Digital Government's Beyond the Beltway conference Monday.
Similar lists were compiled in Chicago, San Francisco, Denver and Orange County, Fla. Because the money must be spent quickly, most officials predicted stimulus dollars would go toward existing programs or projects with contracts already in place. Pumping the money into existing programs -- rather than new projects -- also eases concerns about sustaining new initiatives after the stimulus dollars are spent, they said.
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