Much of the remaining Homeland Security grant money is to be spent to continue with existing projects.
Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Troy Anderson said members of the Auglaize County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) are working to determine how best to use the remaining money from the grants. They are expected to move forward with their options during their next meeting in March.
“What we have been getting is winding down,” Anderson said of the grants, which are always awarded a year behind. “We expect some for 2012, but the amount keeps dropping and after ’12 we don’t know what will happen.”
Anderson said referring to the possibility of no future Homeland Security grants.
Anderson said they decided to spend some of the money they were awarded in 2010 and 2011 on projects that can be done now as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has left some backlogging.
“We want to make sure we can use the money within the time frame it needs to be used,” said Anderson, explaining that agencies have two years plus possible extensions to spend Homeland Security grants.
The county still has grant money available from its 2010 Homeland Security grant.
“We need to get a budget developed for the list of equipment we need,” Anderson said.
He said in the past, Homeland Security grant money has been spent on automated external defibrillators (AEDs), in addition funding a part of bigger projects which were done throughout the county in stages.
“We didn’t have enough money so we broke projects down and did them in phases,” Anderson said, explaining approximately $35,000 remains to be used. “We have been working on this for a couple years.”
Anderson discussed the money being used on some of bigger projects that include improving radio communications with buses in all of the county’s school districts.
When the project is complete, radios providing a direct link between school buses and law enforcement personnel are expected to be in place.
Recently, the LEPC approved the purchase of a trailer for a generator housed at the county’s Neil Armstrong Airport, outside of New Knoxville. Funds used for the purchase came from enforcement fines or grants. Prior to the purchase, the LEPC had been borrowing a trailer from the county Engineer’s Office to hold the generator, which was purchased after a need was discovered following the ice storm in early 2005.
“The generator is primarily for airport emergency lighting, but it could also be used for shelter operations,” Anderson said, explaining that they have not had a back-up generator for emergency shelters in the county before.
He said luckily, the areas where they have placed shelters in the past all had power.
The generator, which the county has had for a couple months, was purchased at a government discount for $8,000.
The trailer was purchased for $1,790 and should be in use within a couple weeks. It includes options such as a stabilizer, electric brakes and rails around the outside to make it more structurally sound.
The generator, which bolts to the trailer, is to be stored at the airport, but then would be transported to shelters as needed for backup.