View Full Version : Local Kansas City to lose millions in terrorism grants

05-24-2011, 11:40 PM
Kansas City to lose millions in terrorism grants

The Kansas City Star

Kansas City’s emergency responders hit the alarm Friday after learning the federal government dropped the region from a multimillion-dollar terrorism preparedness program.

The Department of Homeland Security is eliminating Kansas City and more than two dozen other cities from this year’s Urban Areas Security Initiative grant program. The decision is expected to cost the region more than $7 million, money that would have been used to prepare for terrorist attacks or natural disasters.

“This is something that’s going to make us less capable in the future,” Kansas City Fire Chief Smokey Dyer said. “If Kansas City gets hit by an F5 tornado 10 years from now, do I think our citizens will be less safe than today? My answer is yes.”

The Kansas City region has received almost $72 million in such funds since the program started in 2003 as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The money — set aside by Congress to protect major cities thought to be most vulnerable to terrorism — has bought hazmat suits, bomb squad gear, radiation detectors, even rescue boats and communications equipment, as well as paid for training exercises across parts of the nine-county region.

But faced with trillion-dollar deficits, Congress cut the program by more than $160 million this year. That forced the Department of Homeland Security to drop “safer” cities from grant eligibility, including Indianapolis, Sacramento, Memphis, New Orleans and Kansas City.

Lawmakers from those cities, however, said they’d try to get the money back.

“I must say I am extremely disappointed … and concerned,” said U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat. “This is a terrible time to withdraw our ability to train and equip police, firefighters and other first responders.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said the decision would “greatly disadvantage” Kansas City.

“We will continue working to call attention to this problem in order to ensure Kansas City receives the funding it needs,” Blunt said.

The area’s $7 million loss is only an estimate, since the grants are not guaranteed. But the area had received multimillion-dollar awards every year the program has been in place.

Although officials said the loss would eventually hurt the region’s preparedness efforts, it will not cause immediate problems. That’s because the area still has between $15 million and $18 million from previous grants — enough to continue local preparedness efforts for two more years.

Dyer said it might take five years for the shortfall to fully affect the area. There’s a surplus, he explained, because officials are trying not to waste money.

“We are getting it faster than we can spend it,” he said. “That’s because of how careful we are in spending it.”

There are other programs that may provide emergency preparedness money, as well as a chance that Kansas City might requalify for the program in future years if the federal budget became healthier.

“We’ve asked for information to help us understand how our situation changed,” said Marlene Nagel of the Mid-America Regional Council, which coordinates spending under the program.

Nagel said Kansas City was probably dropped from the list because of the government’s risk formula, which compares the possibility of an attack or other disaster to an area’s population and the vulnerability of its infrastructure.

That formula may explain why St. Louis, which has a larger metropolitan area population, will still get grant money, while Kansas City won’t, she said. In addition to St. Louis, other large cities that remain on the funding list include Chicago, Boston, Washington, Detroit and Minneapolis.

Still, the program has been controversial for several years. Representatives from cities considered terrorist targets — such as New York — have long argued they should get more federal money than lower-risk communities.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said his city’s $151 million grant reflected “recognition that New York and Long Island remain the top target of al-Qaida and its affiliates, and need continued federal funding.”

Meanwhile, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, applauded the Department of Homeland Security for paring its list.

“Aligning grant allocations with risk is the right decision for the nation’s security, ensuring that jurisdictions that actually need money because they face the most significant threats of terrorism are not shortchanged by those that do not,” wrote Jena Baker McNeill and Matt Mayer.

To reach Dave Helling, call 816-234-4656 or send email to dhelling@kcstar.com.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/20/2891223/kansas-city-to-lose-millions-in.html#ixzz1NL7pT0FY

05-25-2011, 12:32 PM
Did this happen before the tornadoes........Nice

05-25-2011, 01:35 PM
I'm good with it. Anything to get off the federal government's teet is welcomed by me.

05-25-2011, 03:08 PM
Time to get used to getting less for every goofy thing politicians can dream up. Cutting is good.

05-25-2011, 03:43 PM
Think about how much more safe and secure we'd all be if the country was so broke paying for local cops to get 10 Uzi's each that we could no longer fund the real military.

05-25-2011, 05:07 PM
I'm fine with it.

05-25-2011, 05:52 PM
The decision is expected to cost the region more than $7 million...

Bullshit. If I am given a ticket for a $7 million dollar lottery and I don't win, the ticket didn't cost me $7 million.

05-25-2011, 06:23 PM
Bullshit. If I am given a ticket for a $7 million dollar lottery and I don't win, the ticket didn't cost me $7 million.

Dem spin: OMG it will cost......
Rep spin: We have to reduce spending and do the right thing......

05-26-2011, 01:36 PM

a full blown police state is just that much farther off.