Londonderry fire chief aiming to boost staffing
LONDONDERRY — Members of the town’s fire department are hoping a federal grant will allow for the long-awaited hire of four new firefighters next year.
During Monday night’s Town Council meeting, Fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie approached councilors seeking permission to apply for a federal SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response) grant this month.
The application period for this round of SAFER grants opens July 16 and continues through Aug. 10. Communities will be notified of their award status sometime this fall, MacCaffrie said.
In November, the town applied for another SAFER grant but the awards have not yet been announced. Fire officials said they expect an answer later this month.
“Hopefully we’ll know about both by budget season,” said MacCaffrie.
Following a brief discussion, the council offered its unanimous support.
“I say go for it,” Chairman John Farrell said. “Even if we’re awarded it, we could then turn it down if we had to. But if we don’t apply in the first place, we’re left with fewer options.”
“This is the same staffing grant we’ve gone for over the past four years,” the fire chief noted. “There’s no guarantee we’re going to get last year’s grant or this year’s.”
The two-year-grant would fund salaries and benefits for four new firefighters for a total of two years. In turn, the town would still need to pay for equipment and job training.
MacCaffrie noted the likelihood of Londonderry receiving two SAFER grants is slim to none.
“The chances of that is probably under four percent,” he noted.
If approved, the town would receive a total of $373,300 over the first year of the grant and $397,492 in the second year. Equipment and training would cost the town $34,000 the first year and $16,000 in the second year.
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