ZANESVILLE, Ohio – Wednesday, at the Muskingum County Emergency Agency representatives from Southeastern Ohio counties EMA’s met to discuss how to spend grant money from Homeland Security.
This year Homeland Security has organized Ohio’s 88 counties into eight districts to distribute money for equipment and training should a disaster happen. Southeaster Ohio’s district includes Coshocton, Muskingum, Morgan, Washington, Noble, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Belmont, and Monroe County. Chastity Schmelzenbach of Nobel County’s EMA said that while they hope disaster never strikes, meetings like this are critical.
“Hopefully that never happens here again but we all saw 9-11 and I don’t think anyone really anticipated that happening either,” said Schmelzenbach. “We have a lot of industry that is moving into Southeastern Ohio with oil and gas and the shale deposits and in our area we are focusing on things like critical infrastructure.”
The ten counties in Southeastern Ohio have been grouped into the state’s eighth district to receive funds from Homeland Security. Schmelzenbach said the old system of dealing with funds on a county-by-county basis became too difficult for the state.
“This is kind of a pilot program where they’ve created this funding formula that’s sort of allocated by region a pot of money so that people within the region can prioritize the things that are important to them,” said Schmelzenbach. “Because as we all know the state of Ohio is really diverse from one side to the other.”
Schmelzenbach said that Southeastern Ohio’s district will receive approximately $213,000 from Homeland Security this year.