Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Port security grant

The council was recently informed that the port was successful in a grant from the FEMA Port Security Grant Program. We have been awarded over $1.6M for a number of projects:

1. The city will create the infrastructure to improve communications via telephone and video conferencing during an emergency.
2. The grant will support the purchase of additional data storage capacity to duplicate city data.
3. Fiber optic cable will be routed to most community and recreation centers to provide meeting places for citizens and alternate work locations for city personnel.
4. The city will purchase Voice Over IP systems to replace the existing phone system for city departments.
5. The grant will support improved training for emergencies for all departments.
6. The port will develop a continuity of operations plan to ensure maritime commerce is maintained after an incident.
7. ESP will receive facility security surveillance.

If you notice, only one of the items is port-specific. It is interesting to note that this grant is going to provide a great boost to our emergency operations while also upgrading our infrastructure across most departments, but we would not have received it if we didn't have a port. While we often try to keep various pots of money separate, the city is a complicated organism--the accountant's spreadsheets only can tell a portion of the story.

I am pleased that the city was successful on this grant. These infrastructure improvements will increase our safety after storms. In addition, elements like the VoIP system will improve our day-to-day operations and reduce future costs. Currently, capital improvements in the city are primarily limited to funding from the local option sales tax and grants like this. Sometimes it is necessary to spend money to save money, and this grant will help us do that.