FDMT Reapplying for SAFER Grant, 2011 App Denied

Fire Department of Montgomery Township's SAFER grant application for fiscal year 2011 was denied by the Department of Homeland Security. Director of Fire Services Rick Lesniak is reapplying for this year's grant

is determined to obtain a SAFER grant from the Department of Homeland Security so that it can increase its firefighter personnel by two.

In February, Director of Fire Services Rick Lesniak received the OK from township supervisors to apply for a $352,000 SAFER grant from the government, in order to hire two full-time firefighters and purchase $30,000 in protective equipment for up to 10 new volunteers.

Lesniak informed supervisors Monday night that the grant was denied, but asked permission to apply again for the Fiscal Year 2012.

"At the end of last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that there were almost 2,000 applications requesting $1.7 billion in funding. Unfortunately, there was only $380 million available through the grant program," Lesniak said. "Unfortunately, the Montgomery Township application was denied."

Lesniak will take some of the feedback from the Department of Homeland Security and submit a substantially similar application under Fiscal Year 2012.

Lesniak said he will "tweak the application" a little bit to meet the program guidelines that Homeland Secuirty has set forth for the 2012 grant program.

"Keep plugging away," Supervisor Vice Chairman Joe Walsh said. "We appreciate it."

Township Manager Larry Gregan informed the board in February that the township has not been successful in obtaining a SAFER grant. He said there was a change made this year that reduced the time period of the grant from four years to three years.

The grant would cover the first two years of three years – the federal government would pay for salaries and benefits.

The third year would require Montgomery Township to pay salaries and benefits.

Lesniak told the board in February that the main priority of the grant is to rehire laid-off firefighters, with a second priority to expand the fire department while recruiting and retaining firefighters.

Should FDMT be successful in getting the SAFER grant, the number of part-time shifts will decrease from eight to two per week with the hiring of two firefighters. One positions would work four, 10-hour days, and the other would develop a recruitment and marketing plan for FDMT.

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