Taxpayers spent $60 million in the past decade to equip the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area with trucks, armored vehicles, computers, bio-hazard suits, and other gear meant to respond to a terrorist attack. Local officials say a recent change in homeland security rules could render much of that expensive equipment useless, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The new rules would shift millions of dollars in maintenance costs from the federal government to cash-strapped communities that can’t afford to pay. If no one pays for maintenance, the equipment will sit in warehouses or fall into disrepair.
The new guidelines would allow local agencies to buy a new $9,000 air monitor, but they would forbid the purchase of a $150 replacement sensor to keep the monitor running. A new video system that costs $27,000 might be approved, but a $1,000 replacement bulb for the same system would be denied. “It’s government at its worst,” said Ed Dadosky, a district fire chief and homeland security coordinator in Cincinnati. “This is really hamstringing our ability to keep this up and running.”