Local News

State's Share Of Homeland Security Money Dropping

Posted December 13, 2004 4:25 a.m. EST

— Whether it's for disaster training or a new truck for a small town fire department, North Carolina has grown accustomed to Homeland Security grant money.

Now, the state's share of the funding is shrinking.

This year North Carolina received $61 million from the federal homeland security fund. In 2005, that amount will drop to $41 million.

"We're concerned...(the) threat remains there," said Bryan Beatty, the state's secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety.

Beatty says big cities like New York and Chicago are getting more security money. That comes at the expense of North Carolina projects like a proposed statewide radio system.

Even with the planned cut in funds, there is criticism North Carolina is not spending the homeland security money it has. A state audit revealed more than $100 million is not being spent -- tied up by bureaucracy and organizational problems.

Beatty argues the audit is misleading because much of the money for emergency equipment and planning is spread out over multiyear contracts.

"We believe that we've made the best...that we can make," Beatty said.

The funding shift to big cities means North Carolina's first responders will have to rely on less. Secretary Beatty says he'll lobby lawmakers to try and keep North Carolina's share of homeland security money from shrinking further.