Homeland Security On Council Agenda

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The Payson town council will vote on an agreement that will result in funds to enhance homeland security. The agreement for grant money is one item on a very short agenda describing Thursday's meeting of the council.

The United States Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness has offered Gila County funds and the county has designated a portion of the money for the town.

"We are getting some money for homeland security-type things," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said. "We have to make an agreement to get the money and the council approves the agreement."

The money will go to the fire and police departments, Carpenter said.

"We are spending our share, which is $4,100, on three satellite phones and some GPS units," Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi said. "The phones are to maintain communication with the outside world in case the standard telephones or cell sites are down. The GPS units are for positive geographical identification."

Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said his department will be using their grant money on such things as satellite phones, GPS units, and radio equipment.

Leadership Academy

One of the items on the recently adopted Corporate Strategic Plan, is for the town to hold a Citizens Leadership Academy.

The academy will educate residents on the basic workings of local government.

The council is expected to approve a motion that would authorize the academy for this fall.

"I've been working with a committee for the last several months," Carpenter said. "We are pulling together a seven-week training session that will start in September to educate citizens on what makes our local government tick, how things work. So many people don't understand how government works."

Town staff and councilors will provide information sessions on topics such as general administration, finance, public works, fire and police departments and parks and recreation.

"Applications will be available at town hall in June," Carpenter said. "The council will select applicants at the first meeting in August."

Carpenter said any resident of Payson, age 18 and older may apply.

"We will have a limit of 20 to 25 people," Carpenter said.

Similar academies are held in the cities of Glendale and Casa Grande, Carpenter said.

The academy is free of charge and will meet every two weeks until the first week in December.

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