Homeland Security Money In Payson

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The majority of the Payson Town Council's brief agenda Thursday had to do with money as the town approaches budget season.

Public safety grants

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Marty deMasi, Chief, Payson Fire Department

Council approved agreements that would enhance the police and fire department budgets.

The town will get a portion of homeland security money allotted to Gila County.

The fire department is receiving $4,100 for satellite phones and 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," deMasi said.

The Payson police department will get $75,000 from the homeland security grant.

Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said they will spend the money on similar communication equipment like satellite phones. Officers also will be given a breathing apparatus in the event of chemical or biological hazards.

The council also approved an agreement with the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission for a block grant for law enforcement support.

Nonprofit contributions

Council is also gearing up for budget decisions regarding the town's contributions to nonprofit organizations.

Last year, Mayor Ken Murphy appointed a three-person committee to decide how much each nonprofit would get.

This year, the council agreed that all members should be involved in the funding debate.

"There were some issues with committee last year," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said. "This year they wanted to do things differently."

Councilors must split the funding between several organizations including the Time Out shelter, the humane society, senior center and the Rim Country Literacy program.

Last year, the appointed committee spent hours deliberating on how much each organization should get. When it came time for the whole council to vote, there was disagreement and some of the committee's decisions were overturned.

"They are going to have a special meeting scheduled for the last Thursday in April," Carpenter said. "Each organization will have five minutes to make a presentation."

Time to volunteer

Members are still wanted for the Surface Transportation or the Airport Advisory committee. Applications are available at town hall.

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