COLUMBUS, Ohio - Sharply reduced Homeland Security funding will force Ohio's counties to compete for the federal dollars this year.
Ohio will share $5.6 million from the State Homeland Security Program this year, compared with $20 million last year and nearly $41 million in 2010, The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday.
Officials say some of Ohio's 88 counties may not receive any of the funding this year as they are forced to compete.
Columbus and Toledo lost their funding last year from federal grants reserved for high-threat urban areas. Cleveland and Cincinnati were cut from that part of the funding this year.
Federal Homeland Security money was divided among all counties when more funds were available.
Where multiple programs used to offer the state "robust funding," one program now offers limited funds, said Andrew Elder, chief of the state's emergency management preparedness grants.
"When we found out the level of funding we received for 2012, it was apparent to us that we had to change our program," Elder said.
This year, the state's first priority for grants is to sustain existing programs and focus on those that serve a region, not just the area receiving the grant, in order to ensure cost efficiency, Elder said.
Franklin County in central Ohio received almost half a million dollars from the State Homeland Security Program last year and shared nearly another half-million dollars from the Department of Homeland Security's grants with several other counties.
Kathy Crandall, director of the Franklin County Office of Homeland Security and Justice Programs, said Franklin County has been planning for the expected reduction in federal dollars and has worked to ensure that the priority projects will be covered.
Southwest Ohio's Hamilton County had its funding through the program cut by half from 2010 to 2011, receiving $4.9 million last year, said Dana Schratt, warning coordinator for the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency.
"With the 2012 changes, we're focusing on sustaining the programs we have now and building on an Ohio regional capability," Schratt said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Successful restaurants worry about the hearts and minds of their customers – along with their stomachs.
An executive with the European private equity firm that holds a stake in Pilot Flying J signed a registration application for an airplane that has drawn the scrutiny of federal agents.