Emergency officials question funding

Show caption
/

Parish emergency officials complained to legislators Tuesday that a decrease in grant funding could diminish their storm readiness.

At issue is the Jindal administration’s proposal to decrease emergency management program grant funding that goes to parishes. In the current fiscal year, the state took $2.1 million of a $5.5 million grant, leaving parishes with $3.4 million.

In the fiscal year that starts July 1, the state wants to keep $4.4 million of a $5.5 million grant, leaving parishes with $1.1 million.

Parish officials told the Louisiana House Appropriations Committee Tuesday that they rely on those dollars to operate their emergency centers, which ramped up after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

“Getting us back in a pre-Katrina posture is a very dangerous situation for the state,” said Dick Gremillion, who runs the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Calcasieu Parish.

Jerry Sneed, deputy mayor of New Orleans, said he was surprised to hear Kevin Davis, director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, tell legislators earlier this year that parishes would not be impacted by the funding change.

Sneed said Davis had a letter from parish officials stating their opposition.