13 Saginaw Firefighters could still lose job even if federal grant is approved
The Saginaw City Council continued combing through the proposed 2017/2018 budget at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. One thing the budget doesn’t include is money to keep 13 firefighters employed if the city isn’t awarded another federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant. The grant is currently used to employ the first responders and the fire department and city officials are both waiting to hear if the new grant will be approved. But according to City of Saginaw Mayor Dennis Browning, even if the city is awarded the grant, it may not be able to take advantage of it.
“If it is awarded the way it is currently written, we wouldn’t be able to afford it. The new application required a match from the city. It would be 25-percent for the first two years, and a 60-percent match the third year. It would cost more than $1 Million, and we just don’t have the funds to do that,” Browning says.
City of Saginaw Fire Chief Christopher Van Loo says his department has a plan to move forward with, or without, the grant.
“If we lose the grant we would be down to 10 full time firefighters. We’re going to have to do the best we can with what we have. We have no choice,” Van Loo says.
The announcements of the SAFER grants are expected to be revealed in the next couple of months.