Funds for more firefighters sought

The City Council has approved a staff application for a federal grant that would pay part of the cost of hiring six additional firefighters.

Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, voted against the grant application, saying the city should decide in budget hearings how many personnel it can afford over the long term before it seeks a grant that would only pay part of the cost for a few years.

But other aldermen accepted City Manager Julia Carroll’s argument that applying for the grant, which had a June 30 deadline, didn’t commit the city to actually take the money if it were awarded, and that the fire department’s budget is up for consideration at next week’s budget committee meeting.

The grant, part of the Homeland Security program, would pay up to $103,500 for each of the firefighters, spread over a period of five years.

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