Mayor leery about strings attached to federal funding
Mayor Al Krieger has raised the question of whether by accepting Homeland Security dollars, the city could be dictated to by the state and federal government.
He expressed his concerns during the Yuma City Council work session Tuesday of items to come before the council Wednesday for action.
One item is a Homeland Security grant to the Yuma Police Department Special Enforcement Unit to purchase three tactical robots for $77,475. The focus is to increase the operational safety of officers through the use of the remotely controlled robots to conduct high-risk activities.
The second item is an agreement between the Arizona Department of Homeland Security and YPD for the purchase of equipment in support of Operation Stonegarden. The agreement allows for reimbursement of funds used to purchase mobile data computers and portable radio equipment in the amount of $78,355.
Operation Stonegarden is a collaboration between YPD and the U.S. Border Patrol, Yuma Sector, to enhance border security.
“With the use of Homeland Security funds, how much authority does Homeland Security have over us?” Krieger asked. “How much can the federal government and state dictate to us?”
City Administrator Greg Wilkinson responded that the city does need to comply with some requirements.
He added that if the federal and state governments wanted to dictate to the city, “it's likely they could whether we take funding or not.”
Yuma Fire Chief Jack McArthur noted that Homeland Security can take steps if the funding and resources aren't used as specified in the grants, but “so far they haven't exercised excessive oversight.”