Brady McCombs and Stephen Ceasar
The Arizona Star
November 16, 2009

Federal grant money from Operation Stonegarden may seem like a windfall for the cities and counties that have eagerly accepted it.

But the funds have not been totally free — and in some communities taxpayers will be obligated for decades.

City and county governments had to foot the bill for mileage and maintenance — and employee-related expenses in some cases — during the first two-year grant cycle. Officials at the 10 state agencies included in the Arizona Daily Star’s investigation couldn’t provide actual costs and declined to estimate, but it likely cost an estimated $910,000 statewide, according to calculations done by the Star.

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