Others also benefit from federal funds

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KansasCity.comWhile much of Sumner County’s federal spending goes for Social Security, Medicare, agriculture and the social safety net, the federal government sends millions to the county for other programs as well:

Veterans programs

In 2010, Washington spent $2.1 million for service-connected disability payments for the county’s veterans, as well as $4 million for VA Home Loans. It paid for vocational rehabilitation, education assistance and for pensions for veterans’ survivors.

Salaries

The government paid postal workers more than $6 million in Sumner County and $816,000 in other wages in 2010.

The 2009 stimulus

Sumner got $8,653,390 from Washington as part of the stimulus, according to federal records. Almost all of it went to the county’s school districts, which used it to hire teachers. Some was spent on road resurfacing and a storm shelter.

But the city of Caldwell got $390,000 in stimulus grants and loans to repair its downtown community center.

“The building is available for any type of activities,” the city’s website says. “The building features a large dance floor/reception hall, a smaller secluded meeting room, a kitchen, and gender separated restrooms.”

It’s also important to note what money the county didn’t get — millions in federal dollars routinely awarded to other communities, but not to Sumner:

Higher education

Sumner lacks a college or university, so it gets no grants and loans for higher education institutions. (Its students can get loan assistance, money that isn’t recorded in spending databases.) It also gets no money, typically, for defense-related construction (although some workers are paid by the Pentagon).

Public safety

Wellington’s police chief, Tracy Heath, says his department has received no federal money to hire additional community officers, as have many other departments. In 2010, Sumner got no federal help for its crime victims or for the prevention of delinquency. Federal job training grants went somewhere else.

Other programs

Most environmental spending goes to other localities. Federal support for the arts in Sumner is low or nonexistent.

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