MAYVILLE – Members of the Chautauqua County Public Safety Committee accepted nearly $1 million in funding through the U.S. Homeland Security Act on Wednesday.
The largest of the grants is for port security funding to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office for $542,490.
The funding will be used for radios and equipment for the patrols on Lake Eire.
The marine patrols on Lake Erie also benefit from a $334,714 grant from Operation Stonegarden, another Homeland Security program.
These funds will go toward new computers, robots and software for the Sheriff’s Department.
The K-9 Unit received a $14,804 Homeland Security grant.
Committee members heard from Undersheriff Charles Holder, who said that most of these programs and equipment would not be possible without the federal funding.
Committee members authorized that all the funding requests be sent to the full Legislature for approval at the next meeting.
Committee members also heard that a lightning strike Friday caused significant damage to the computer systems at the county dispatch center.
Holder said the cost estimates are between $30,000 and $40,000 and it is unknown if insurance will pay for any of the costs.
“We have had catastrophic issues with the dispatch center,” Holder said.
In another matter before the Public Safety Committee, Julius Leone, director of the county’s Emergency Services Department, said that new electronic reporting regulations by New York State are costing time and money for fire departments.
He said that smaller rural departments will be especially hard hit because they do not have computers and resources to be able to enter data as required by the new state system.
Leone said he will consult with members of the Fire Department Advisory Board to draft a resolution to be sent to state lawmakers opposing the costs and training involved in the new reporting system.
Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley asked for committee approval to receive a new grant from New York State for $100,000 to fund an investigator and a part-time assistant district attorney to prosecute crimes against sales tax issues.
The new staff members will investigate matters including failure to pay proper taxes on cigarettes and other state sales tax revenues.
The matter was approved and will be on the agenda next week for the full Legislature.