ZANESVILLE, Ohio â€“ Wednesday, at the Muskingum County Emergency Agency representatives from Southeastern Ohio counties EMAâ€™s met to discuss how to spend grant money from Homeland Security.
This year Homeland Security has organized Ohioâ€™s 88 counties into eight districts to distribute money for equipment and training should a disaster happen. Southeaster Ohioâ€™s district includes Coshocton, Muskingum, Morgan, Washington, Noble, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Belmont, and Monroe County. Chastity Schmelzenbach of Nobel Countyâ€™s EMA said that while they hope disaster never strikes, meetings like this are critical.
â€œHopefully that never happens here again but we all saw 9-11 and I donâ€™t think anyone really anticipated that happening either,â€ said Schmelzenbach. â€œWe 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.â€
The ten counties in Southeastern Ohio have been grouped into the stateâ€™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.
â€œThis is kind of a pilot program where theyâ€™ve created this funding formula thatâ€™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,â€ said Schmelzenbach. â€œBecause as we all know the state of Ohio is really diverse from one side to the other.â€
Schmelzenbach said that Southeastern Ohioâ€™s district will receive approximately $213,000 from Homeland Security this year.