Legislators Unhappy With Homeland Security Delay

Montgomery, AL – Some state lawmakers questioned Alabama Homeland Security Director Jim Walker during legislative budget hearings Thursday. They say federal Homeland Security money is not getting to towns and counties quickly enough. The state Department of Homeland Security approved millions of dollars in projects in 2004 in all 67 Alabama counties. Every county was approved to receive at least $75,000. The money came from the state's almost $37 million Homeland Security federal grant. Local officials made requests for equipment and projects to be funded in their areas, and Walker says the new public safety equipment has already gotten to many counties. But he says the process of purchasing public equipment can be lengthy and requires seeking competitive bids. The homeland security director also explained that the process for receiving federal money requires counties to purchase the equipment and then be reimbursed.