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Read the fine print

Tuesday night’s visit with State Finance Director James Main did nothing more than dash a little water on Selma’s hopes for some money from the $787 billion federal stimulus package.

Here are the projects: stabilization of neighborhoods by rehabilitating foreclosed homes, infrastructure installation for the Riverfront Project, installation of other amenities and features for the Riverfront Project, replacement of sewer and storm drainage lines, restoration of the historic Lovelady Building, hiring new police officers, restoration of the Selma Interpretive Center, renovation of the Selma Interpretive Center, resurfacing of streets and installation of new traffic lights, and dredging the Alabama River and cleaning its banks.

Main passed out a couple of leaflets and talked about the amount of money the state is getting. He talked about the differences between budgets and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, which is commonly known at the federal stimulus.

A roomful of people sat, waiting to hear the magic number. What is Selma getting? What can be done?

It appears nothing can be done. Main didn’t bring a check.

Instead, it appears Selma will have to compete with many other cities in the nation to apply grants under the program.

While this is disappointing, it’s a lesson learned that nothing free ever comes from government. Everything has a caveat.

Or as many have said in the past, “If it looks too good to be true; it probably is.”