Now Wally was purchased with grant funds. Rudy was trained with grant funds. Our mobile command center was purchased with grant funds. Several other pieces of equipment for Police and Fire departments are purchased with grants. Now, there are those that scream and shake their fist at government to say, “Take no grants, for they are evil”.
Well, through our grant division and the efforts of our grant director, Kathy Brunot, the city secured over 3 million dollars of grants this year alone through state and federal agencies to support the Fire Department, Police Department, Housing Division, the Utilities Department and the Public Works Department. All were put to good use and all have a direct benefit to the citizens of Valdosta.I give him points for stating a strategy and reasons for it.
Our philosophy at the city is that if we have a need and it’s a growing need, then look for a grant. The reverse is never true with us. That is to say, we do not get offered a grant and then scrape and scratch to create a need for that grant. That is playing a game with serious grant money and we just simply won’t do it. And these are competitive grants – all of them. Once submitted they have to be presented and sold and that is where the department directors, Mr. Hanson, and I come in. That’s also where travel expenses prove their worth – the worth of more than 17 million over the last 3 years. Just last week while at the Bird Supper, that next day when I always submit projects to the leadership and the governor; the city had two major local transportation projects to present. After sitting with some of the Chairmen of different committees, senior staff and Senator Tim Golden at the capital, I walked out with a commitment of 3 million dollars. This is just one example of how these trips pay for themselves over and over again. Grants play an important part in funding needs that are provided to the citizens and give benefit to the greater good, such as Wally and Rudy, whom you met here tonight.
Now we’ll see if he or the Council will be as straightforward about the Industrial Authority not paying attention to big picture issues or outside input.