HOULTON – The town will try to capitalize on its past success in receiving grants from the Department of Homeland Security by applying for additional funding from the agency this year, town councilors decided earlier this week.
During their meeting, councilors voted unanimously to submit a grant application to the 2006 Homeland Security Grant Program.
If received, the funding will assist the town in implementing its emergency management plan.
Town Manager Douglas Hazlett said they would be seeking approximately $2,000 from the program.
The town has received a significant amount of money through the federal program in past years.
In 2003, the town used Homeland Security funds to upgrade radio equipment for police, fire and ambulance personnel, and purchased metal detectors for the Houlton Police Department.
In 2005, Houlton was the only municipality in Aroostook County to receive funding from Homeland Security. The town received more than $75,000, which was used to provide emergency generators for Houlton High School and purchase a backup generator for the town office.
Town officials believe that Houlton’s status as a service center community tags it as a place that people would naturally come to during an emergency, especially because of Houlton Regional Hospital.
The town office is slated to serve as the emergency operations center during any such incident, which is why officials felt it important for the building to have electricity at all times.
The high school also was equipped with a generator so that it could serve as an emergency shelter.
The school has a cafeteria, gymnasium, restroom and shower facilities in concert with other amenities, and could hold a large number of people.
The Homeland Security funding also was used by law enforcement to acquire such things as communications equipment and cameras for buildings at Houlton International Airport.