Rockdale targeted for $1M in federal spending

CONYERS - Rockdale County government, public schools and the city of Conyers have about $1 million coming to them in federal expenditures that were included in the federal Omnibus budget bill signed into law this week by President George Bush.

The bill authorizes funding of the U.S. government's budget for 2008. Congressman Hank Johnson said he sought and was able to place $7.69 million in federal spending to programs in Georgia and the 4th Congressional District, which includes Rockdale County.

The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office will receive $188,000 for a methamphetamine initiative, while Rockdale County Public Schools was tapped to receive $429,000 in the federal budget for unspecified projects.

The city of Conyers has $423,000 going toward police technology and 911 communications improvements from the budget.

"This has been a particularly difficult negotiation, but I am pleased that we will fund services which are important to Americans and not just the $10 billion a month that Americans pay to support the war in Iraq," Johnson said.

There was some doubt whether Bush would sign the budget into law following a budget battle between his administration and Congress over defense department spending. The federal government's fiscal year began Oct. 1 and had been running on a continuing resolution since then. That temporary funding was to expire Monday.

In a concession to continue funding the war effort in Iraq, federal lawmakers loaded the federal catch-all spending bill with additional funding for special projects, referred to as earmarks.

Bush said in a press conference Wednesday he was unhappy with what amounted to 9,800 earmarks included in the $554 billion federal budget. He expressed his displeasure in the additional funding and said he would instruct his budget officers to "review options for dealing with wasteful spending."

However, Bush signed the bill into law Wednesday keeping all earmarks intact.

Among the other federal expenditures announced by Johnson were $300,000 for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, $326,000 for the Grady Hospital Electronic Health Record System and $1 million each for the Glenwood Road Pedestrian Safety Improvements project in DeKalb County and to study the environmental impact of the Beltline greenway project in Atlanta.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.