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EMS Grants News and Articles
Date last updated: Sunday, August 26, 12:06 PST
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Grant add 6 firefighters to Ohio fire department
By Michael D. Pitman
The Dayton Daily News
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Six firefighters will be added to the Middletown Fire Department roster next month.
The city recently accepted a $1 million federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, which will allow the city to recall two laid off firefighters and hire four more.
"We're confident it will put another unit on the street," said Fire Chief Steve Botts. "This will be done at the federal government's expense, largely. There's a small portion we'll pick up in way of uniforms and protective clothing."
City Council made $3.7 million in cuts in November 2011 in order to balance the 2012 budget. The police and fire departments sustained the largest cuts. That led to five firefighters being laid off.
Only two of the five laid off firefighters were recalled through the SAFER Grant.
Two have already been called back due to retirements and one found another job, Botts said.
Council recalled laid off firefighters Timothy Gibson and Brian Lykins Tuesday night and hired firefighters Justin McPhillips, Jordan McClellan and Ryan Pennekamp.
The name of the fourth newly hired firefighter is not known. By accepting the grant, the city cannot layoff these six employees before the grant expires.
Councilwoman Anita Scott Jones asked Botts if he could reapply for the grant before it expires in two years.
What happens in two years is uncertain at this point, Botts said. He said the city can reapply for the grant, but instead of applying to rehire laid off employees and hire new ones, the grant will request to retain the employees.
Botts said he wasn't certain if the city would be able to accept the grant before the outcome of the 0.25 percent income tax levy approved by voters on Aug. 7. The levy was overwhelming supported with nearly 77 percent of the vote and will generate an estimated $2.9 million for the police and fire budgets.
If the levy failed, the city would sustain additional cuts in personnel and the grant prohibits cutting the firefighters hired and recalled.
Botts said the six personnel will allow an ambulance to be placed into service "and that's 85 percent of our business."
It's undetermined at this time if the six firefighters would raise the minimum staffing levels per shift. Since the cuts were made, the department now has a minimum of 16 fire personnel on duty per shift. The department has 72 uniformed personnel, which includes fire administrators such as the chief.
However, he said since there would be two more firefighters on staff per shift, overtime costs would not increase.
Copyright 2012 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.
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