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Morning Cup: Stimulus On the Road

benderbending/Flickr; Krista Kjellman/ProPublicaThis is the latest roundup from our stimulus blog.

When the volunteer fire department in Readfield, Maine, wanted to get a piece of the stimulus package, Fire Chief Matt Dunn had trouble finding a source of money for a long-sought addition to their firehouse. So he contacted state and local officials, who found that they had to navigate 30 different government Web sites to learn about all the funding the town of 2,500 people might be eligible for.

"How is a small fire department going to figure that out if there are 30 separate Web sites that need to be accessed?" Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked at a Senate hearing yesterday.

"That scenario you describe is happening across the country," replied Carolyn Coleman of the National League of Cities, one of the hearing's witnesses. "There's no one place yet where you can find all of the funding opportunities for cities in the recovery act."

Readfield eventually found a $210 million pot of grants for firefighters to upgrade their stations. But Dunn worries if it's all for naught. What can the government do to help?

"Get the information out there as quick as possible so that we're not spinning our wheels and then finding out that we don't meet the criteria," he told ProPublica.

In other news, national media is swirling around Warren County, Ohio, where commissioners have vowed to turn down stimulus money. Said Commissioner Mike Kilburn: "I'll let Warren County go broke before taking any of Obama's filthy money." The Dayton Daily News reports that Lucas County says they'll take Warren's slice of pie if it's not going to eat it.

And in Missouri, some lawmakers want to use the stimulus to lower income taxes. The Kansas City Star reports the proposal would cut the tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent, saving someone making $40,000 about $155 a year.

Project of the day: From the list of national parks projects, about $1 million to repair storm damage in the Virgin Islands.

Endnote: While Recovery.gov has yet to become the one-stop shop as promised, there are some other government Web sites to navigate the stimulus. FedBizOpps has stimulus contracts. Grants.gov has stimulus opportunities here while GovLoans.gov will tell you about, you guessed it, loans. You can also parse the 1,000-page recovery act, by searching for keywords like "fire" or "energy." (It's posted in the Documents section of our page if you ever need to find it.) In addition, if you're interested in one topic like education and agriculture, each federal ageny has set up stimulus Web sites that generally follow the format "www.agencyname.gov/recovery."

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