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$5M cut will not hurt APEC preparation

By Leila Fujimori

LAST UPDATED: 6:51 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2011

The loss of nearly $5 million in federal anti-terrorism funding for Honolulu will not affect the city's preparedness for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in November, city officials say.

Honolulu had been receiving an average of $5 million every year since 2003 (except for 2004) from the Urban Areas Security Initiative for cities with a high-risk profile when it comes to terrorism, but will get zero this year, said state Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeira.

The city received $4.7 million last year.

"We're hopeful, given the previous years' UASI allocations and the currently budgeted local funding, that the city will be prepared for APEC," said city Managing Director Douglas Chin.

Chin said the loss of the funding will mean the city might not be able to accomplish as much as it wanted for disaster preparedness.

"However, APEC preparedness plans will not be affected because the city has been gearing up for APEC by utilizing fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2010 UASI funds, along with other Homeland Security and city funds," Chin said.

This year, anti-terrorism grant money will go to only 31 high-threat urban areas. With a ranking around No. 40, Honolulu did not make the cut, Teixeira said. The loss of funding was disappointing, he said, but necessary due to a shrinking federal budget.

Congress indicated it will reduce funding even further next year to cover only 10 U.S. cities, Teixeira said.

Meanwhile, the city has set aside $45 million for APEC security and other related expenses.

Honolulu Police Department officials also said the cuts will not affect preparations for APEC.

The city had not planned to use the UASI funds for APEC since the funding usually comes in late fall and would likely not have been available until after the APEC convention.

Another source for city funding is the State Homeland Security Program, for which Hawaii received $5.1 million — $1.5 million less than last year, Teixeira said.

Of that amount, 80 percent goes to the four county governments, and "Honolulu always has had the lion's share of the funds," he said.

He said the state's share is 20 percent, but the funding cut will affect state Civil Defense, resulting in less money for communications equipment and fewer supplies for public emergency shelter operations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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