State OKs Plan For $26.5 Million In Homeland Security Funds

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State officials approved a distribution plan for an estimated $26.5 million in federal homeland security funds on Tuesday.

Under the plan approved by the state Homeland Security Commission, a portion of the funds - $16.1 million - will be dispensed to 16 of the state's counties through a formula that includes a $25,000 base amount and an additional amount based on the county's share of the state population.

Clark County, Nevada's largest with more than 1.5 million residents, will receive $25,000 plus some $11 million. The state's smallest county, Esmeralda, will receive $25,000 plus an estimated $7,800.

Officials said the fixed amount will ensure all the state's counties receive a fair share.

The smallest counties "wouldn't be able to meet any of their needs" if officials handed out money based on population estimates alone, commission chairman Jerry Bussell said.

Washoe County, the state's second most populous, will receive about $2.5 million.

Seven of the state's 28 tribes submitted applications to the state for funding and will be eligible for 2 percent of the $16.1 million, or about $322,000.

An additional $5.1 million in funds also will be distributed to counties based on need, said Kamala Carmazzi, deputy chief of the state Emergency Management Division. That distribution will be on a case-by-case basis and will be used for specific law enforcement and volunteer programs.

Of the total $26.5 million, the state will keep 3 percent, or an estimated $796,000, for administrative fees.

Officials tentatively allocated $4.5 million of the total to the state and its various agencies, including the departments of transportation and public safety, which includes the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Carson City will be included in the state allocation and not be eligible for the $25,000 base amount, Carmazzi said. Carson City's share is not yet known, although it will likely receive a sizable amount since it's the state's governmental center, she said.

Carmazzi cautioned all the numbers were estimates and would be reduced by 0.59 percent - an across-the-board budget mandate from the federal government. Any unused funds would be reallocated, giving some counties additional funds, she said.

The state will distribute the money through reimbursements for federal- and state-sanctioned activities and equipment. Earlier this year, each county had to file a risk assessment plan, which was compiled and sent as a statewide report to the federal Office for Domestic Preparedness.

Nevada has qualified for four grant programs in 2004 for a total of $37 million. Clark County, home of the Las Vegas Strip, is the sole recipient of one of those programs and will receive an additional $10.5 million.