EMA ups requests for city funding

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, July 28, 2010

As the city of Troy begins its budgeting process this year, it will undoubtedly have many funding decisions to face.

With requests from new and existing agencies, capital project proposals and the task of operating Troy Regional Medical Center, Mayor Jimmy Lunsford has said he will have to take a hard look at city financials before making a budget recommendation.

That, he said Tuesday, as the Pike Animal Shelter members came before the council asking for some $82,000 annually to help fund a project to build a new shelter on Henderson Highway. But, the shelter’s not the only agency looking for its share of city funding in the next budget year, which begins Oct. 1.

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Mentioned for the first time Tuesday, Lunsford said the Pike County Emergency Management Agency was looking for an increase in its current appropriation from $3,792 to between $20,000 and $30,000 per year.

Pike County EMA Director Jeanna Barnes said the local office has seen an increase in its responsibilities and requirements but no boost in funds to offset those burdens.

One of those demands includes National Incident Management System training for emergency personnel throughout the county.

“Currently, over 700 people county-wide, the majority being in the city of Troy, are required to obtain one or more phases of this training. If the city of Troy is not NIMS compliant, it will not be eligible for FEMA post disaster funds during a declaration, mitigation grants and other such funding,” Barnes said.

Barnes said the money would also be used to assist in the overall goals of the EMA office — awareness and training, school safety training and disaster preparedness, to name a few.

“Emergency Management is rarely understood in its full capacity. There is far more involved than testing the sirens once a month and watching the weather,” said Barnes, who prior to her move to director worked as an EMA volunteer for three years.

“Pike County EMA is the head agency in the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery of disasters that Pike County and the city of Troy may face.”

This includes working with local emergency officials to ensure they have the appropriate equipment and training to perform their jobs.

Barnes said EMA has recently worked to establish a Community Emergency Response Teams, groups of volunteers who assist in the neighborhoods they live.

EMA also hopes, partly with this funding, to work with Troy University and Troy Regional Medical Center to establish a new training program that would allow for people to come to the county for training.

Barnes said now people are sent to other cities to earn certifications, and having the ability locally would be beneficial not just for saving costs locally but could bring in others to the city.

EMA is funding currently with the city of Troy’s appropriation and grant money but largely by the Pike County Commission.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said EMA is budgeted $157,280 in this current budget year. Barnes said if the city of Troy chose to increase its allotment, that would be about 10 to 13 percent of its budget.