Emergency appropriation funds public safety program

By Jim Hilgen 10:42pm, June 25, 2013
County Council acts quickly to find funding for the county's contribution to the Emergency Services Corps program.

The Emergency Services Corps budget runs through the calendar year, yet a budgeting oversight by the county would have left the program unfunded for the remainder of 2013.

Councilman George Smiley says 80 thousand dollars was needed for the program.

"If the funds were not there, then come June 30 they're out and they don't get to complete the program and get what credits that they're working toward," says Smiley.

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Smiley introduced a measure that corrects that error, but he says the credit lies elsewhere.

"I picked up the phone and called County Executive Gordon, to be very honest. I'd found a few dollars in the Council budget that I thought we could squeeze out because it was near the end of the (fiscal) year, and asked him if he would partner to make up the difference. And his response was, "Why don't you take the whole 80,000 from me," Smiley says.

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Service Corps workers assist volunteer fire companies around the county, and the loss of their services could hinder public safety efforts.

The emergency appropriation received unanimous support from council members.


In other news from County Council's latest session, several resolutions raised the ire of Councilman Jea Street.

The resolutions were to pay for what were being called "non-bid purchase order contracts" totaling nearly $4 million.

Street took issue with the wording "non-bid" saying the County was playing favorites and squeezing out the little guy.

In floor discussion it came to light that most of the funds were going to the county library contracts, and service contracts on computers and other equipment.

It also came out that all of that equipment was purchased under a bidding process and service contracts are billed under separate purchase orders in subsequent years.

By that time Councilman Street had left Council chambers.

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