The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 29, 2013

Our View: Upping the ante

The Joplin Globe

— The announcement Wednesday that Joplin has been awarded $113 million by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for disaster recovery came as a surprise to city leaders.

Joplin earlier had learned that it was receiving $45.2 million to be used to recover from the destructive May 2011 tornado. It was assumed that was the award and no more would be coming from HUD.

Heads likely are spinning now as possibilities are being considered.

Joplin has now received more than $350 million in federal funding — an almost unimaginable sum to be used to recover from a disaster that until 2011 had only been unimaginable.

U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., issued statements Wednesday. We note Blunt’s observation: “When a disaster exceeds the ability of communities and states, the federal government has a responsibility to help people rebuild,” he said in his statement.

 In this case, the federal government is allocating the people’s tax dollars to help the people of Joplin help themselves.

 It’s a tremendous opportunity we have. And, a tremendous responsibility.

 This infusion of money is designated for housing, infrastructure and business projects. There is no question there might be the temptation to reinvent Joplin’s recovery plan. That would be a huge mistake.

We think we have a solid blueprint provided through the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team.

Joplin’s master developer, David Wallace, in discussing the HUD grant, said Joplin has shown fiscal restraint, and he expects that is one of the reasons more tax dollars are being sent this way.

Let’s stay that course.

After all, we are spending the taxpayers’ dollars.