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WEST SPRINGFIELD -- The town is using a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire eight new firefighters, according to Mayor Will Reichelt, who acknowledged the award at a recent ceremony with fire Chief William Flaherty and Congressman Richard Neal.
This week, the mayor explained the nuts and bolts of the $1.25 million SAFER grant, short for "Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response." The FEMA grant program was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer organizations to help them increase the number of trained, front-line firefighters in their communities.
Grant - Years - Portion - Funding - Firefighter
"The grant is for three years and provides a portion of funding for each new firefighter every year. The town makes up the difference," Reichelt said Wednesday.
It was "Christmas in July" on Tuesday as Jeeps of every color and variation rolled into West Side for the Destination Jeep Night Food Drive to benefit the Parish Cupboard's emergency food program.
Percent - Cost - Salaries - Benefits - Firefighters
Seventy-five percent of the cost of funding salaries and benefits for the eight new firefighters will be covered for the first two years of the SAFER grant. For the final year, however, the coverage falls to 35 percent.
"At the end of the three years, if it works out well, the town is on the hook for all costs," said Reichelt, whose administration plans to offset costs by using casino mitigation funds and revenue from the addition of a third ambulance to the town's fleet.
Hires - Part - Reichelt
The new hires are part of Reichelt's...
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