September 2, 2014

Director to pursue homeland security grant

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STANDISH — The Arenac County Board of Commissioners has given Central Dispatch Director Steve Wuelfing the green light to pursue a grant with hopes of purchasing new radios for several local fire departments.

At its Sept. 7 regular meeting, the board voted to allow Wuelfing to pursue a Regional Homeland Security Grant. Wuelfing said the total grant amount would be $59,101, and also noted that the grant has a 25 percent match requirement, which would equal $14,775.25.

Wuelfing said if the Homeland Security Department approves the grant request, then the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the fire departments in Twining, AuGres, Omer, Standish, Sterling, and Alger, would use the radios. He also said that he had the application completed prior to the board meeting, but he needed a letter of recommendation from the board to complete the process.

In the event the Homeland Security Department rejects the county’s application, Wuelfing said he would have to meet with the local fire departments and discuss that situation. He also said he planned to meet with local fire chiefs Monday, Sept. 13, to discuss their respective situations.

“That’s kind of open-ended at this time,” Wuelfing said. “I have no idea how well the fire departments are funded.”

Wuelfing said after Jan. 1, 2013, it would be illegal for public safety units to use a radio that’s 12.5 kilohertz or less.

“The need for radio frequency space has increased in the past 20 to 30 years,” he said. “All of the frequencies are pretty much spoken for. Most of the newer radios that have come out in the past seven or eight years are capable of being reprogrammed.”

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