Spending the Money

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Area Ohio counties aren't holding back in spending homeland security dollars.

That's in contrast to a published report saying communities across the Buckeye State have spent less than one-fifth of the money it has been given by the federal government for Homeland Security.

The Columbus dispatch reported over the weekend that just $29 million of $194 million allocated to the buckeye state has been spent, but officials of two counties we spoke to Monday, Washington and Meigs, have spent most of their funds.

The director of Meigs County's Emergency Management Agency, Robert Dyer, believes larger counties aren't spending the money, because they already have the equipment smaller counties are buying.

"When you get $5 million in a large city or county," Dyer says, "And you have a tax base, a lot of this basic equipment we're trying to purchase, these counties should already have.

Washington County Commissioner John Grimes says another reason may be the paperwork involved in using those grants.

"Some of the grants have a limited time span," Grimes says. "By the time we get the money, get it allocated, and get the contracts signed, and get the materials delivered, it's pushing it to get it done in the time limit."

Area counties have spent as much as $400,000 of Homeland Security money to upgrade their communications systems and equipment to fight hazardous materials spills.