Town doing all it can on stimulus

LITCHFIELD – Selectmen are standing by their recent assertion that they are not to blame if the town ends up missing out on federal stimulus money.

“Concerns have been expressed as to why Litchfield hasn’t applied for any of the funds,” Chairman Frank Byron announced at Monday night’s meeting. The board addressed the issue in response to a swirl of questions from residents over the past week or so, he added.

Last week, selectmen posted a detailed letter on the town’s Web site, describing their understanding of the application process and explaining their position that whether the town catches any stimulus funds is out of their hands.

“Bud (Orville Fitch, director of the state’s Office of Economic Stimulus) informed selectmen that at present, there is no mechanism for submitting grant requests,” the letter states. “The state is not collecting grant information at present and is only referring towns to various governmental agencies for discussions.”

Byron read the entire letter, which is available at

In the letter, selectmen claim that recent newspaper stories on how the state and localities may benefit from the stimulus package may have left residents with the wrong impression.

“We hope that this (letter) clears up some of the confusion surrounding the stimulus package ‘wish’ lists people have seen published in the local papers,” it states.

Byron also said that several of Litchfield’s planned projects, such as the proposed $1.1 reconstruction of a series of culverts around Page Road and Albuquerque Avenue – which is up for vote March 10 – falls short of state DOT requirements to get stimulus funds.

The letter also promises that selectmen won’t hesitate to act on the town’s behalf when the time comes.

“Once the Stimulus package is issued, Selectmen will examine the programs and determine if any projects may be suitable for submission. If so, then Litchfield will take full advantage of the program,” it states.