Stanhope council accuses the state of ignoring area's homeland security needs

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:53

    STANHOPE n Last week, Stanhope threw its hat in a statewide fray about homeland security funds. During its regular meeting on Aug. 30, the borough council passed a resolution expressing "outrage" at what it sees as politically biased manner in which state homeland security funds are awarded. The Statewide Local Domestic Preparedness Equipment Grant Program was established in 2002 in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In addition with providing training, support for planning and technical assistance, the program was entrusted with distributing funds to local municipalities for the purchase of equipment to "prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism." Stanhope, as well as several other municipalities in the state, charges that heavily Democratic towns are getting the bulk of those funds. "(This program) has been exposed as nothing more than a way to give money to politically favored legislative districts," read in part the ordinance approved by the Stanhope governing body. Stanhope said its application for grant funds was "improperly and shamefully ignored" by Acting Governor Dick Codey and Attorney General Peter Harvey based purely on the fact that Stanhope is heavily Republican. According to Stanhope, in the three years of the program's operation, towns in Republican districts received just 7 percent of the money available, totaling a little more than $1,600,000. The ordinance says the state's actions are putting the "safety and security of the citizens of this town at greater risk." The resolution, which passed unanimously, calls on Acting Governor Codey and State Treasurer John McCormac to fund state homeland security grants from the $40 million currently budgeted for property tax assistance and community development projects.