Moffat County's emergency manager says there's no chance that Homeland Security grants will subsidize county television as some Wyoming residents had hoped.
"It's just not an allowable item," said Clyde Anderson, Moffat County's emergency manager. "I have enough experience doing this that I knew it wasn't possible."
Anderson said he double-checked the grant guidelines and found no allowance for public television. Also, the federal grant money is allocated within each state, so it would be hard to justify a Colorado expenditure for a Wyoming problem.
Anderson was responding to a request by the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners to look into the possibility that grants from the Department of Homeland Security might pay for county-operated TV translators.
A Baggs resident and a Carbon County Commissioner on Monday visited the Moffat County Commissioners to discuss ways to reinstate the TV signal that had broadcast Denver TV stations before Moffat County quit funding the transmission.
They were concerned that Wyoming residents would miss important emergency broadcasts in the event of a national crisis.
Anderson submits Homeland Security grant applications to the Colorado Office of Preparedness and Security. Because Colorado has no legal responsibility to provide public warning to Wyoming, "it's doubtful that any such request would be considered, even if it were allowable," Anderson wrote in an e-mail to several media outlets.
"The current Homeland Security grant program has specific guidelines for allowable requests, and funding any type of public television service is not an allowable item," Anderson wrote.
Anderson suspects there are other means by which Wyoming residents could receive emergency broadcasts.
In Moffat County, KRAI is the designated Emergency Alert Radio Station, Anderson said. Moffat County also has a telephone-based warning system that automatically can deliver emergency messages.
It's likely that similar systems are in place in Wyoming, Anderson said.
"It's a nationwide system," Anderson said. "I just don't know which radio station is designated for that part of Wyoming."
The emergency manager said he'd be happy to speak with his counterpart in Carbon County to discuss how the problem of emergency alerts was solved in Moffat County.
No officials from Wyoming have contacted him asking for a solution, Anderson said.
In December, agencies in Moffat County were awarded more than $270,000 in Homeland Security grants. The next round of grant awards will be announced in May.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org