Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney says she's not sure the county should accept three million dollars in grants from the Federal Government. The money helps property owners clear the land of fire fuel. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn't like that the county found a way to clear each acre for $100 rather than $1000 per acre as specified in the paperwork.
Baney believes that the county did the right thing by cutting costs through "sweat equity" and expanding the scope of the land covered ten fold.
She believes that FEMA is missing the main point of this fire prevention grant money:
"lets remember the important pieces - we are trying to protect our community - and a perfect example is the other evening we had 33 hundred lighting strikes - one of those strikes landed in the aspen lakes area - in that area we had treated for 50 thousand dollars - we had treated 500 acres- it landed - it burnt and it was out within a half hour- that's what we want to have happen- instead of it lands, it burns and it wipes out an entire community- and it could've been aspen lakes." -
FEMA even sent the county a bill for money the federal officials believe Deschutes County needs to pay them back. The bill was for earlier grants in 2007,and 2008. As for the 2010 grant money, Baney says it would be for 3 million dollars and woulld be applied to land in Deschutes, Crook and Klamath Counties. She says they probably won't accept that money until the issue is cleared up. Baney and others traveled to Washington D.C. earlier to meet with FEMA leaders. She says another trip to Washington is possible.
Baney was a guest on 1110 KBND's "Your Town" Wednesday morning.