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Missouri publicized a sum of grant money to be available for local Emergency Medical Services agencies, local law enforcement and fire services. There is $10 million total grant money for each department with $30 million in total grant money available. Each local emergency response service is allowed to apply for up to $20,000.

The funding for these grants is coming from the American Rescue Plan Act and was made attainable by the Missouri House Bill 3020. The grant administrator is the Department of Public Safety. 

Police Chief Ron Christian, City Manager Greg McDanel and others within the Maryville emergency response services have been discussing what to do with the grant money to help improve Maryville. 

“The city of Maryville is analyzing requirements of both the (Peace Officer Grant) and (Fire Protection Grant) grant opportunities, however has not made a determination yet whether to apply and for what specific purpose,” McDanel said. 

The city has not made a set decision to apply for these grants. Christian said there was a meeting Nov. 15 to go over these grants and what the departments would use the money for. He said as of Nov. 14, the departments are discussing using the money to update some of the equipment, like the radios. 

“The greatest need that we have identified both on the police and fire side is to upgrade some of the radios that we have in our patrol cars and the officers and firefighters carry on their side,” Christian said.

The new radios would allow for clearer communication and the range of communication would be expanded across the state. Christian said the improvements to the radios would make things easier for the officers and firefighters. 

Upgrading the radios across the entirety of the departments will be costly. The grant being $20,000 dollars per department would not cover the entire cost of replacing the radios for both departments. 

“The bad thing is that it is extremely expensive. For us to upgrade everything that we need to do would be in excess of a quarter million dollars, which is well beyond what this grant is allowing,” Christian said. “We’re trying to determine whether or not it’s something we could bite off a chunk of.”

If both of the departments receive a grant, there will be $40,000 to leverage towards radios, which is not even a quarter of the estimated cost of the upgrade. The departments will have to do extra fundraising to get to the total cost of replacing all of the radios between both departments.

McDanel said both of the applications are due Dec. 5, so there is limited time left to make a decision. The money granted has to be spent by April 30, 2023 and require a local match of 50%. Meaning the city is responsible for matching the money that is granted. 

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