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Delta County’s EMC funding cut

Cindy Roller
Delta county's emergancy managment coordinator, Monty Hobbs.

Delta County will be losing the funding for the emergency management coordinator position. According to the State’s Department of Health and Human Services, it will take effect on Sept.1.

“The budget cut is based on population,” said Delta County Emergency Management Coordinator, Monty Hobbs. “My concern is not for myself, but for the county.” Hobbs was retired before taking on the part-time position overseeing the EMC budget.

A emergency management coordinator plans and directs disaster response or crisis management activities,  provides disaster preparedness training, and prepares emergency plans and procedures for natural (e.g., hurricanes, floods, earthquakes), technological (e.g., nuclear power plant emergencies or hazardous materials spills), wartime disasters, or catastrophic incidents.

“I feel that with his position our county has really made progress in communications regarding weather safety and other matters of public need. Case in point would be the Cooper High School track meet last week, we were able to deliver 500 students safely home when we were faced with the threat of a tornado heading our way. Timely and accurate information is critical in such situations and my communication with him was instrumental in being able to effectively plan for the safety of students. Having a sparsely populated county does not in any way negate the need for strong safety planning!” said Cooper Independent School District Superintendent Denicia Hohenberger, in support of Hobbs.

“The office was funded through Homeland Security before the Department of Health and Human Services felt the need to take over,” said Judge Herb Brookshire, frustrated with the news.

U.S. House Representative Larry Phillips gave his thoughts on the budget cut.“I am very disappointed that the Federal Government has excluded Delta County,” said Rep. Phillips. He has also contacted Congressman Ralph Hall and Senator Bob Deuell in the push to find out why this County is being cut. “I want to know the reasons for this decision. Safety is paramount. Delta County does not have the ability to absorb this position and the duties. It takes so much planning and the EMC has to be focused and ready and that is hard to do when wearing lots of hats.”

Delta County was not the only county affected by this decision; San Jacinto County near Houston also had their EMC funding cut along with a total of 14 counties in various states including West Virginia, North Carolina, Utah, Kentucky and Missouri. According the report the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has revised the U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), based on Census Bureau data was the reason for the changes affect the planning jurisdictions. The change also created an addition of 27 other counties.