Pilot Light: County Seeks $1 Million Firefighter Grant
Moore County will apply for $1 million in Assistance for Firefighters Grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
At a work session Thursday, the Moore County Board of Commissioners authorized Public Safety Director D. Bryan Phillips to submit the application by the Friday deadline.
The application requires a 25 percent match, or $250,000, from the county. Jim Westbrook reported that funds could be found in a debt service designation for such a purpose. Westbrook is assisting with the county budget this year.
Phillips said the grant, if approved, would be applied to the estimated $4.3 million needed for an upgrade of emergency radio coverage countywide. He said the new 800MHz system would provide better radio coverage and reach areas with traditionally poor reception.
FEMA will fund much of the cost for buying new radios, he said, adding that the new radios would "significantly improve communications by and between the fire and rescue agencies and the county's 911 communications center."
AFG - Assistance to Firefighters Grants is authorized through the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974. Congress has appropriated $390 million for this fiscal year.
Phillips said the AFG was set up to support organizations lacking the tools and resources necessary to provide more effective protection for the life and safety of the public and their emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.
FIRE TAX - Changes in the tax bases in a couple of fire service districts may result in changes in tax rates.
Updated statistics were presented to the commissioners during the Thursday work session by Tax Administrator Wayne Vest.
County Manager Cary McSwain recommended changes in the previously established tax rates for Crains Creek and Seven Lakes.
The Crains Creek tax rate will drop from 0.115 cents to 0.108 cents and the Seven Lakes rate will drop from the recommended 0.04 to 0.038 cents. In the case of the Seven Lakes department, the rate will be unchanged from the existing one, but the original budget recommendation contained a 0.04-cent rate.
The county's new budget is to be adopted at the commissioners' June 7 meeting. The budgets for the fire service districts will be adopted as part of the county budget.
REFUNDS - Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger, of Rockingham County, has introduced a bill to address the issue of tax refund delays.
The bill would require the N.C. Department of Revenue to pay a 10 percent penalty and interest if a tax refund is not paid within 45 days after the return is filed. It would become effective beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2011.
For two consecutive years, taxpayers have been subjected to weeks and even months of delays in receiving a refund, according to a news release from the office of state Rep. Jamie Boles.
TEXTILES - North Carolina congressmen have introduced the first-ever textile specific custom enforcement legislation.
The bipartisan bill was introduced Tuesday by Democrat Larry Kissell, of the 8th District, and Republican Walter Jones, of the 3rd District. Others sponsors from North Carolina include Republicans Howard Coble, of the 6th District, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx and Sue Myrick, and Democrats Bob Etheridge and Mike McIntyre.
"Our government has an obligation to protect American jobs and to help the American economy grow," Kissell said. "By not enforcing trade deals and holding other countries accountable to honor their end of these agreements, it has continued to cause undue harm to American manufacturers and industry.
"We have to do a better job at enforcing the protections put in place, and protecting the interests of American manufacturers so they have the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace."
The Textile Enforcement and Security Act of 2010 addresses the issues of increasing fraud by increasing the necessary resources to investigate and prosecute offenders with funds coming from fines and penalties collected.
It establishes an electronic verification of textiles and apparel imports, increases staff at high-volume ports for textile and apparel imports and establishes a nonresident importer program to ensure that resident agents are held accountable for products imported under their name.
Contact Florence Gilkeson by e-mail at email@example.com.
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