Kansas Gets $21M for Homeland Security

Kansas emergency preparedness agencies will receive $21 million in 2005 for homeland security, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts' office announced on Tuesday, and Saline County expects to receive somewhere around $250,000.

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness and are funneled to Kansas counties through the Kansas Highway Patrol.

KHP Lt. John Eichorn said that as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the highway patrol had not been notified about the grant award, and he had no information indicating how much each county would receive.

Saline County received about $575,000 last year, but Bryan Armstrong, the county's emergency management director, said he doesn't expect to get that much this time around.

"We expect it to be half or less than what we got in 2004," Armstrong said.

That's because large cities are getting a bigger piece of the pie this time around to fund the Urban Area Security Initiative, he said.

"People in like New York City and (Los Angeles) were whining because people out here in the sticks were getting money and they didn't have enough yet," Armstrong said.

The odd thing is that Saline County has yet to spend any of its 2004 allocation. The hang-up has to do with bookkeeping issues, he said.

"They haven't even allowed us to start spending it yet," Armstrong said. "They're trying to get all the counties to close out the 2003 money."

Saline County plans to use the 2004 money to replace the Law Enforcement Center's backup generator, buy communications equipment to set up an emergency operations center and to buy a $280,000 hazardous-materials truck for the Salina Fire Department, Armstrong said.

What the 2005 money will be used for won't be determined until Saline County knows how much it's getting.