Wilmington Fire Department Seeks $2.4 Million SAFER Grant
Posted on 08/09/2012 9:15 pm
Wilmington Chief of Fire Willie Patrick of the Wilmington Fire Department (WFD) appeared today before Wilmington City Council's Public Safety Committee, chaired by Council Member At-Large Loretta Walsh, to discuss the Department's intention to seek a 2012 SAFER Grant totaling $2.2. million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If approved by FEMA, the grant would enable the WFD to continue to employ 13 of the Department's 173 firefighters in FY 2014. The salaries for the 13 firefighters are currently funded through a SAFER grant awarded to the City in 2011.
FEMA awarded the WFD the 2010 SAFER Grant worth $1.7 million in February of 2011. The grant enabled the WFD to rehire eight firefighters who were laid off due to budget cuts and to fill five vacancies that were empty due to attrition. The 2010 SAFER Grant funds will be expended at the end of the FY 2013 (June 30, 2013). Failure to receive another SAFER Grant would result in an increase of $800,000 in personnel costs to the City's General Fund in FY 2014 if the city chooses to keep these firefighters employed.
"The SAFER grant was created to assist emergency services agencies in filling funding shortfalls for the hiring and retention of staffing," said Chief Patrick. "The City of Wilmington was fortunate to be selected as a grant award recipient for 2010. Receiving a 2012 SAFER grant would not only allow the Fire Department to maintain current staffing levels-it would obviously have a positive impact on the City's operating budget as well."
The Public Safety Committee today approved the Department's application for the grant. Wilmington City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on the grant resolution during its next meeting on August 23. FEMA is expected to announce its 2012 SAFER Grand award recipients by September 30. If the City does not receive a 2012 Grant, it has the option of reapplying for a 2013 grant next year.