CRESTVIEW — A potential $1.3 million FEMA grant could ease some firefighters' job security fears and alleviate some budget pressure on the city, Fire Chief Joe Traylor says.
Traylor will pursue the grant, following the City Council’s unanimous vote Monday to grant permission. If he’s successful, the money would be awarded this fall, he said.
Under its Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant is available.
The grant is offered to cities with SAFER grants that have ended, but in which the firefighters hired under the program have been laid off or are threatened with layoffs.
Crestview would fall under the second category, Traylor said.
"People haven't been laid off but there is the threat of layoffs," he said.
The two-year grant requires no matching funds, as the city's first SAFER grant did, Traylor said. It would provide $1.3 million divided over two years to fund 12 existing firefighter positions.
"If we could get this, we could really end our budget discussion right now," Councilman Shannon Hayes said.
Traylor said he hopes that as the economy recovers, the city's growth increases its revenue to cover the 12 firefighters' salaries.
"If we keep our employees, there is a direct public safety benefit," Traylor said. "If we lay them off, our community is not as safe."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.