Magazine article Government Finance Review

Mayors: Cities Not Seeing Federal Homeland Security Dollars

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Mayors: Cities Not Seeing Federal Homeland Security Dollars

Article excerpt

A recent report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors revealed that 90 percent of cities have not received any of the $1.5 billion in federal funds approved by Congress in March to help local emergency workers prevent, prepare for, and react to a terrorist attack.

"911 does not ring at the statehouse; it rings at city hall," said U.S. Conference of Mayors President James Garner, the mayor of Hempstead, New York. "Cities are the first to respond in a crisis, but last in line for funds. We need direct funds. We call on Congress and the administration to help."

The survey, which included 168 cities from all 50 states, also revealed that 58 percent of cities either have not been consulted about or have not had an opportunity to influence how their state plans to use and distribute counterterrorism funds.

"Not only are we last in line for funding, we are last in line to be consulted about what it takes to protect our residents," said Mayor Scott King of Gary, Indiana. More than half of the cities say they have not been at the table to influence decisions and coordinate response efforts. Cities know their needs best. State bureaucrats are in no position to decide whether or what kind of protective suits or communications equipment we need for homeland security. …

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