The Smithville Aldermen Monday night gave their blessing for the fire department to apply for a FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, which if approved, would fund the hiring of firefighters for up to two years at no costs to the city.
Fire Chief Charlie Parker, in asking for approval to make application, told the mayor and aldermen that the city would be under no obligation to keep funding the positions locally after the grant funds are exhausted. "The grant is a two year total grant and it would be for hiring full time personnel. It would go up to a max of $230,000 for salary supplements for that two years. That's the maximum amount. That doesn't mean that we will get the full amount but it could be some in part up to that for personnel. If we do get it, it will still need to be accepted by the board" said Chief Parker.
According to the FEMA website, the priorities for funding under this program are as follows:
First priority: Rehiring laid-off firefighters
Second priority: Retention of firefighters who face imminent layoff and/or filling positions vacated through attrition but not filled due to economic circumstances
Third priority: Hiring new firefighters
Chief Parker said the city should know by September if the grant is funded.