Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Thursday [Sept. 10] which 36 communities in the state will share $840,000 in federal stimulus money for public safety.
Locally, four towns — Franklin, Lebanon, Mansfield and Willington — are set to receive $9,100 each through the Connecticut Justice Assistance Grant.
Funding for the grant was made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“Critical public safety needs are as varied as the towns themselves,” said Rell. “And so, it is important that these crime prevention grants are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ program.”
State officials said they expect the funding to be disseminated by Oct. 1.
According to Rell’s spokesman Donna Tommelleo, all towns in the state are set to receive funding, but it is being awarded in rounds.
She said the recent funding is the third round out of six.
Although municipalities were guaranteed the funding, town officials still had to apply and explain how the funds would be used.
Mansfield officials will use the money to purchase shotguns, ammunition and bicycles.
Town Manager Matthew Hart said purchasing bikes will allow for more “community policing” in town.
Hart said the bikes allow police to be more approachable and patrol areas that are not easily accessible by car. He said the bikes would be especially useful in patrolling areas adjacent to the University of Connecticut.
Franklin officials said they will use the funding to buy road construction signs, barriers, traffic cones, a radar speed sign and other equipment they could not otherwise afford.
“We wouldn’t be able to purchase this equipment without (the grant),” said First Selectman Richard Matters.
Matters said town officials are glad they will soon receive their funding, but are equally looking forward to getting funding through the energy conservation grant.
Lebanon’s First Selectman Joyce Okonuk said the town’s portion of funding will be used to purchase three defibrillators.
Two defibrillators will be put into police cruisers and one will be kept in the senior center, she said.
According to Okonuk, it was important to use the funding wisely because low grant funding, such as the $9,100 the town will receive, limits what can be purchased.
“We could have purchased other things,” she said. “But something as life-saving as a defibrillator is high priority.”
Okonuk said town officials wanted to buy something that would benefit the most people in town. In addition to benefiting all residents, she wanted to get the “biggest bang for the buck.”
Funding for Willington will be used to purchase a security system and a surveillance camera for the town office building, which has been broken into and vandalized in the past.
First Selectman Michael Eldredge could not be reached for comment this morning.