Delaware County commissioners want to make sure that the county's interests are represented when billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds are distributed.

Delaware County commissioners want to make sure that the county's interests are represented when billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds are distributed.

The previous commissioners, who left office in January, did not include membership in the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) in the 2009 county budget. The current commissioners said that could mean a loss of federal funds for road and infrastructure projects.

"If we're not at the table, we're going to be on the menu. We've got to be there," commissioner Todd Hanks said at the commission's Jan. 26 meeting.

Commission president Tommy Thompson agreed.

"If we aren't at the table, we lose many opportunities of garnering money. ... It may cost us money. But if we don't do it, we could lose money."

The annual cost for Delaware County to join MORPC, the area's growth planning organization, is $43,362.

The commissioners unanimously approved the expenditure last week after listening to a presentation by Chester Jourdan, MORPC's executive director.

Delaware County faces "great challenges because of its growth. But with that growth comes great opportunities," Jourdan told the commissioners.

"Even in tough economic times, there are still opportunities. ... We can make sure that money from the stimulus plan gets to Delaware County. ... If you have projects, give them to us and we will try to get them done," he said.

MORPC has worked with the county to secure money for four transportation projects in recent years, exceeding $21-million through 2017, according to documents in a package the organization put together for the commissioners.

Those projects are the Home Road grade separation at the CSX Railroad crossing, $13-million; Home Road intersection improvements at state Route 257 and Section Line Road, $6.6-million; Red Bank Road bridge deck replacement at Hoover Reservoir-Duncan Run; $1.2-million; and intersection improvements at state Route 3 and Freeman Road, $600,000.