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EMS Grants News and Articles
Date last updated: Wednesday, August 29, 7:06 PST
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Mich. city may reject SAFER grant to add firefighters
By Candice Williams
The Detroit News
LINCOLN PARK, Mich. — Lincoln Park fire officials have until Sept. 4 to persuade a reluctant City Council to accept a $600,000 federal grant that would maintain current fire department staffing levels.
Steve Heim, president of the Lincoln Park firefighters union, said the Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant would keep the fire department staff at 29.
"We're down to a skeleton crew," Heim said. "With sick time, vacation, everything creates a shortage. It's being filled with overtime. We're at the point where the employees are working an extensive amount of hours. They're starting to get burned out."
City Manager Greg Capote has recommended council not accept the grant. Also, some council members have expressed hesitance, taking issue with the grant requirement not to lay off any firefighters until June 2014. City officials hope to get concessions from the union whose contract expires in June 2013.
"We're starting to chew up our fund balance," Capote said. "We've got to look at various costs. The fire department is a big one."
In Taylor, the mayor overturned the City Council's decision to accept a $1.2 million federal grant for firefighters over concerns regarding overtime costs. But a circuit court ruling ordered Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand to accept the money.
Lincoln Park Mayor Patricia Krause said the city should take a closer look before rejecting the funds.
"I personally would like to continue to drill down even deeper into this issue," Krause said. "(But) it doesn't appear the council supports that and unfortunately I'm just one."
The next City Council meeting is Sept. 4. Krause said she doesn't know if the grant will be on the agenda.
The Lincoln Park Fire Department lost a fire inspector to retirement last month, one firefighter to injury and the fire chief plans to retire in November, Heim said. He wants the grant to fill those open positions after promotions.
Heim said he would also like for the city to use the funds to provide its own ambulance services. The city currently contracts the service.
"We can transport and bill," he said. "It's a way to bring in revenue."
Copyright 2012 The Detroit News
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