New York Daily News

April 15, 2002

City May Lose Out On Security Aid, Hil Warns

By MARTIN MBUGUA
Daily News Police Bureau

New York will be among the cities shortchanged if $3.5 billion in federal homeland security aid is distributed through states instead of being sent directly to local authorities, Sen. Hillary Clinton said yesterday.

Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she has proposed legislation that would funnel the funds directly to local governments with no restrictions on how the money is spent.

"The administration doesn't want any money to be used for personnel costs," she said during a news conference outside the 1st Precinct stationhouse in Tribeca.

"What is the point of putting more money into our front-line defenders if we don't ... let them use it the way they think they need it and ... use it for the people who are putting their lives at risk?" Clinton asked.

Flanked by Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch and Uniformed Firefighters Association Vice President Mike Carter, Clinton said the city would stand to gain more than $72 million if her bill becomes law.

Under Clinton's Homeland Security Block Grant of 2002, $3 billion of the $3.5 billion would be directed to towns, cities and counties.

The remaining $500 million would be used by states for homeland defense planning, coordination and training and the development and maintenance of emergency communication systems.

Clinton said giving the city discretion over the funds could help prevent the closure of firehouses and pay for overtime, among other things.

"One thing that has been proven: The way to rebuild the city is the safety factor," Lynch said. "If people feel safe in this city, they will spend money here, they will stay here, business will relocate. That is tax revenue that comes to the bottom line."