Municipalities Seek $5M From Casino 'Super Grant'
Bristol Township and four neighboring municipalities are attempting to get a collective grant to replace emergency radios.
Bristol Township, along with four other municipalities, will attempt obtain what they call a "Super Grant" from the Parx Casino in order to pay for a federally-mandated transition to new radio bandwidth which may cost the townships a collective $5 million.
Bristol Township Manager Jeff Bartlett announced the plan during a Thursday night Council meeting. Bristol, Middletown Township, Bensalem and two neighboring municipalities are asking for $2.5 million a year for a two-year period in order to pay for the transition.
"This is a great opportunity for all five of these townships to act together to pay for this. Without it. we are looking at a significant line item for the 2011-2012 budget," Bartlett said.
The casino impact grant is mandated by the state and funded by taxes on gambling on tables and slots in the Parx Casino in Bensalem. Any township that neighbors or houses the casino are eligible to apply for a Casino Impact Grant.
This year's casino revenues are expected to yield a $4 million Casino Impact Grant.
Bristol Township is hoping to receive more than $1.7 million from the grant to pay for the new federal guidelines that go in place Jan. 1, 2013. Those federal guidelines require all emergency radio responders to use new channels that take up less bandwidth.
"They are doing this transition and we're not happy about it, but it's something we're stuck with," Bartlett said.
Each township will be responsible for changing over all their stations for police, emergency response units, call centers and fire response teams. Bartlett estimates that each unit costs about $5,000 to replace.
The transition is expected to be costly, and will come directly out of the coffers of each municipality.
"We're lucky to have (the casino impact grant) available, but some townships that aren't as lucky will likely have this on their books for 10 years," Bartlett said.
All five townships have until Sept. 30 to submit their joint application for the Casino Impact Grant.