Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Police, Fire Personnel Funding Dominate Post-9/11 Spending

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Police, Fire Personnel Funding Dominate Post-9/11 Spending

Article excerpt

Nearly two out of every three dollars spent by cities on security and public safety after September 11 are spent on police, fire, and emergency personnel and overtime. The remaining expenditures are primarily occurring in the areas of equipment upgrades, obtaining additional training, and securing public facilities, according to an NLC survey of 210 cities conducted in January.

The survey also asked cities to list their "most pressing needs" and "how can the Office of Homeland Security help?" When National League of Cities officers met with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge in January, they presented him with a thick stack of responses to the survey. The responses pointed to a need for assistance in protecting city facilities and infrastructure and coordinating emergency planning across jurisdictions and regions.

The presentation of survey responses to Director Ridge represents a continuing exchange between NLC and the Office of Homeland Security that both hope will be go forward. The survey, the fifth such effort by NLC since 9/11, also represents NLC's ongoing commitment to monitor and assess cities' homeland security efforts.

Spending By City Size

While police and fire expenditures dominate the overall picture of municipal spending on homeland security, the responses vary dramatically by city size. For cities over 300,000 in population, 76 percent of city expenditures after September 11, and projected through 2002, are devoted to police and fire personnel costs. For cities under 10,000 in population, the share of total post-9/11 expenditures on police and fire personnel is 25 percent.

Smaller city expenditures are more likely to be come in purchasing and upgrading equipment and in protecting local water supplies. Twenty-nine percent of the expenditures for cities under 10,000 in population are going to equipment, compared to five percent for cities over 300,000 in population and 14 percent for cities with populations between 100,000 and 300,000 in population. Similarly, small city expenditures to protect water facilities account for 15 percent of all post-9/11 expenditures, compared to less than five percent for the larger cities.

Expenditures for obtaining additional emergency preparedness training also vary by city size. Larger cities, more likely to have already received some training through federal initiatives, report that less than five percent of their total additional expenditures are going for training. Cities under 10,000 in population, in comparison, are devoting 10% to training, while cities between 10,000 and 100,000 in population are devoting 17% to training. …

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