Tuesday, November 24, 2009

State to Release $388,125 in Stimulus Funding to Gloucester Fire Department

Governor Patrick, State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) have come to the aid of the Gloucester Fire Department by releasing $388,125 from federal stimulus funds to prevent the city from having to make serious budget cuts that would impact the safety of Gloucester’s citizens. The funds will also be used to support additional shift staffing needs.

Today’s announcement marks the second round to fire departments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Firefighter’s grants are funded through stimulus funds the administration set aside specifically to help fire departments address staffing reductions caused by the current recession.

“The economic crisis has hit cities and towns hard and forced communities to lay off the men and women sworn to protect us,” said Governor Patrick. “With these stimulus funds, we can eliminate dangerous understaffing, put people to work and give our police and fire departments the resources they need to keep our residents safe. I commend our partners in the Congressional Delegation for making this critical funding possible.”

“Through teamwork with Governor Patrick, Secretary Burke and city officials we have been able to capitalize on this major opportunity for Gloucester,” said Tarr. He added that “we identified the grant, and Chief Dench responded with a comprehensive and compelling grant application. The result is the receipt of funds that will make the difference between fire stations being open and fire stations being closed.”

The $388,125 comes from the $11.6 million that the administration set aside to fire departments across the Commonwealth. The federal Recovery Act does make $210 million available nationally for fire departments to compete for grants to support the renovation and construction of local fire stations.

“These much needed state funds will provide the necessary resources to retain firefighters while protecting the safety of our community and assisting the City of Gloucester in these difficult economic times” commented Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante.

87 fire departments submitted applications to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) for the two staffing grant programs. EOPSS used formulas based on budgets, staffing issues and public safety concerns to determine which departments received grants. For a full list of award recipients, please visit www.mass.gov/eopss.

Mayor Kirk said, “This grant can be used over the next 12-months as a bridge to the other side of the recession so we don’t see further impacts on public safety levels in the coming months which are sure to continue to be difficult fiscally.”

“The Patrick-Murray administration has moved to provide critically needed assistance to local police and fire departments,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Kevin M. Burke. “This is funding each department needs to help ensure the public’s safety across the Commonwealth.”

“We are so appreciative of our state delegation for coming through with the resources we need to get through these difficult fiscal times that have so adversely impacted city services including public safety,” said Fire Chief Philip Dench.