WV WILL GET $18.3 MILLION HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDS - Money Could Help Calhoun Complete 911 Center

WV is getting a new round of Homeland Security money - $18.3 million worth, $9 million less than a grant received earlier this year.

Calhoun County law enforcement received an initial $50,000 grant last spring, which has been used to upgrade equipment. The money was used for communication equipment.

Another $30,000 grant was received by the Calhoun Office of Emergency Service, making a total of $80,000.

The Calhoun County Commission and the 911 Advisory Board is hopeful there will be money in the new grant round to purchase a communications tower and other essential items to complete the new 911 building and project.

911 Advisory Board President Jerry Riggs said available funding and lots of commitment, including volunteer labor, have been important to make the new center a reality.

A long-term lease provided by the Calhoun Board of Education took care of the real estate need, the center is located behind Calhoun Middle-High School.

"Hartshorn Construction, the contractor, did some really good work on the building," said Riggs. "Lots of other folks have taken on getting parts of the project done, from digging ditches to installing systems."

The completion of the new center has been a long-time coming, suffering mostly from a lack of funds.

The current building at Mt. Zion does not meet safety standards and is crumbling.

Riggs said the new center will meet community needs well into this century.

US Senator Robert C. Byrd says West Virginia's funding will help the state fund terrorism and disaster training and equipment as well as prevention efforts.

West Virginia's funding is part of about one-point-six-six billion dollars allocated for US states and territories for Fiscal Year 2005 under the Homeland Security Grant Program. Portions ranged from California's 134 million dollars to Wyoming's 13-point-nine million dollars.