“This article appeared in the Feb. 12 issue of the Progress Times.”
ALTON ─ On Tuesday evening, the Alton City Commission approved various grants to aid the police and first responders of their community.
After the commission discussed two agendas regarding rezoning tracts and plats, Chief of Police Johnathan B. Flores requested approval for a grant that would allow the Alton Police Department to partner with the Nueva Luz Foundation to provide training for peacekeepers and first responder personnel regarding mental health and resilience.
“This grant is going to allow us to partner up with the Nuevo Luz foundation to provide funding for the first responders, both police and fire, to receive mental health training and resiliency training for our organization,” said Chief Flores.
According to the FY 2022, the mental health program, brought forward by the Homeland Security Grants Division, is to improve coping strategies, provide specialized approaches to treating stress for officers and first responders, increase morale and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help by providing safe and confidential services.
The City Commission also approved to submit for the Office of the Governor Homeland Security Division Homeland Security Program FY 2022. The grant allows funding for infrastructure via technological advancements for servers, anti-virus software, information notification systems, and any equipment that can help mitigate homeland security threats. The security program means to effectively protect against acts of terrorism, protect citizens, respond immediately to save lives and recover through a focus on timely restoration to communities and individuals affected by such an incident.
The Alton City Fire Department sought a grant from the Department of Homeland Security for the Assistance to Firefighters Program for new SCBA equipment for a total cost of $90,000 with $4,285 being the city’s match. SCBA’s are self -contained breathing apparatuses that first responders use while entering burning buildings. Members of the city commission approved the authorization of the grant application, 5-0.
The commission approved the Adoption of Resolution 2021, a resolution regarding a contract with Government Capital Corporation in order to purchase two new utility vehicles for the Police Department and one for the Public Works Department.
City Manager Jeff Underwood re-approached the resolution to adopt the work plan and budget of the fiscal year 34 (2021) for the Urban County Program.
“The last meeting we had a public needs assessment, a public hearing. The program is pushing us to get a work plan,” said Underwood. “We have long looked at the streets and the condition they’re in, in the Rancho Grande subdivision, and we feel those are the next up that need to be repaired. We also received two requests. Capable Kids, for disabled youth. They have asked for $10,000.”
Capable Kids Foundation Inc. is a local non-profit located in Edinburg, Tx, dedicated to improving the lives of disabled children and providing community accommodations. Due to COVID-19, families of disabled children require resources to adapt to online learning and homeschooling.
After it was approved, Underwood mentioned that the remainder of the amount would go to street projects and stressed that it is preliminary.
“Excellent that we have enough to go around,” said Mayor of Alton, Salvador Vela.
Before the meeting closed, Mayor Pro-Tem Arturo Galvan Jr. brought about his concerns about the recent freeze warning for the RGV.
“Are we going to have anything in place in the city where citizens might need sheltering in case we get to 29 degrees and below,” asked Galvan Jr.
“We’ll get that word out before the day is over tomorrow,” responded Underwood.
As of Wednesday, the City of Alton has posted infographics on cold impacts and preparedness on their social media sites and has given a location to a shelter hosted by the Salvation Army on 1600 North 23rd St. located in McAllen, TX.