Most states have had problems implementing the stimulus weatherization program in a timely way. But we’ve never heard of a string of bad luck and sorrow quite like North Carolina’s. Here’s the story, as related in the Greensboro News & Record:
- The money set aside for weatherization was only a small piece of the 2009 stimulus bill, but it was more than 10 times the amount North Carolina regularly receives from the federal program for such efforts.
- The man who had been running the program died suddenly from a stroke just as the massive influx of cash was heading to North Carolina.
- At the same time, last year’s state budget transferred the State Energy Office and weatherization program from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Commerce. That change meant a refiling of paperwork with the federal government.
- That bureaucratic shuffle delayed work at the state level until September, said State Energy Office spokesman Seth Effron. Money didn’t begin to filter to the nonprofits until November.
- “And then in December and January, in terms of agencies getting things done, there were weather problems,” he said.
The result, according to the article, is that the state has completed barely one-tenth of the 22,203 housing units that could be weatherized with stimulus money.