Tester secures $900,000 for new Whitefish emergency center

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana’s only member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee today announced that he has secured $900,000 to build a new emergency operations center in Whitefish.

Senator Jon Tester made sure the money for Whitefish was part of an annual homeland security funding bill.

The City of Whitefish currently uses what Mayor Mike Jenson calls a “wholly inadequate, makeshift facility” as its round-the-clock emergency center.

The new facility, to be built off Baker Avenue in Whitefish, will house Whitefish’s 9-1-1 call center, the police and fire departments, and the city court.  The center will also allow for enhanced radio communications among state, local and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the Flathead region.

“This money will help make Whitefish safer and stronger,” Mayor Jenson said.  “The new emergency operations center is going to be a vast improvement and a huge positive for everyone in this community.  I want to thank Senator Tester for fighting for this facility.”

Tester, who earned a seat on the Appropriations Committee earlier this year, said he set aside the funding because it will benefit the City of Whitefish for generations and it will create new jobs.

“I’ll always fight for Montana projects that put folks to work and keep our communities safe,” Tester said.  “I have a responsibility to make sure taxpayers get the most bang for their buck, and that they know where their money is going.  This new emergency response center is a smart investment in Montana.”

Tester included the $900,000 for the new Whitefish Emergency Operations Center in the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

The measure is expected to go to the full Senate for approval in the coming weeks.  The final money will go to Whitefish when President Obama signs the bill into law.