Systems, plans discussed during emergency management meeting

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Clay County OEM coordinator Travis Boyd reviews financial figures at the meeting of the Local Emergency Planning Committee Thursday in Piggott.

Clay County Emergency Management coordinator Travis Boyd told members of the county's Local Emergency Planning Committee in a meeting Thursday, Sept. 20, that the county has been fortunate in acquiring grant monies in the past few years to fund several projects.

His office will continue to look for such sources of funding, he added.

Boyd spoke to more than two dozen committee members from across the county attending the meeting at Piggott City Hall. A scheduled speaker from the Arkansas Department of Health was unable to attend, so Boyd took the opportunity to review finances and update members on a variety of efforts and grant monies received this calendar year.

Boyd noted the county's Hazard Mitigation Plan was approved in August, and thanks to a federal grant, much of the cost was paid.

"The cost of the plan was $40,233.08 and we received a grant of $28,125, so the net cost to the county was just $12,108," Boyd said. "I know that's still a lot of money, but there were a lot of counties that had to pay their full amounts."

Boyd also indicated work is continuing on the county's continuity plan and emergency operations plan. He said he expects work by Arkansas Tech on the efforts to be complete and a report received by early November.

Boyd added that a Fiscal Year 2009 LETPA (Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention) grant was received in the amount of $16,816.53.

"That money was used to buy radios and equipment for the sheriff's department. We also received a SHSGP (State Homeland Security Grant Program) grant in the amount of $34,500 and we used all but $205.55 to buy our new mobile command vehicle that is required by law," he explained.

Several grants from Fiscal Year 2010 also have been received this calendar year, including a LETPA grant for $17,032.99. These funds were used to purchase updated radios for the police departments of Rector, Piggott and Corning, Boyd said.

Another SHSGP grant in the amount of $33,852 was used toward the purchase of radios for the road department and radio repeaters. The total cost of the project was $41,444.83, with only $7,592.83 of the cost covered by the county.

"Our old radios were not federally approved, and we could no longer license them," Boyd explained of the purchase. He also noted the county's radio repeater west of Piggott was destroyed in the 2009 ice storm and that two new replacement repeaters are state-of-the art.

"One of the repeaters is on the water tower west of Piggott, and the other is actually on a water tower in extreme northern Greene County," he added.

The county also received smaller grants, such as $2,289.62 through an IECGP (Interoperable Emergency Communication Grants Program), to be used for administrative purposes.

"All our efforts have cost the county $152,317.04, but we've been able to cover that with grant monies in the amount of $132,410.58," Boyd added. "The net cost to the county on all these things was only $19,906.46, or just 13.25 cents on the dollar."

However, Boyd also told committee members he is beginning to see a change on the horizon.

"I really feel like the 2011 grants we're now working on could be some of the last," Boyd noted. "It's not always been easy to meet the requirements, but they've been good to have," he added.

In conclusion Boyd told the committee that from the standpoint of those in his office, 2012 has not been a bad year. "It's been a good year for us -- terribly dry, but no bad tornadoes or floods to speak of," he observed.

The next quarterly meeting of the Clay County LEPC will be held in early December in Corning.

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