New Bedford SAFER Grant Expired Two Months Early
New Bedford Fire Union President Billy Cabral says the City's SAFER grant for FY16 has already expired. The City's Chief Financial Officer, Ari Sky, confirms the grant expired in mid-March.
Cabral says the City now has to pick up the tab for 63 firefighters that were funded by the federal grant for the next four months.
Speaking on "The Barry Richard Show," Cabral says if the City loses out on a SAFER grant for FY17, about 50 firefighters will have to have their positions funded by the City, which at this point is not very feasable. "We have to restructure our priorities, which I think are in order as it is right now," says Cabral. "I'm sure there's a lot of fat around that could be trimmed before cutting an already tragically lean department."
Mayor Jon Mitchell is set to release his FY17 budget next week. The City has applied for a SAFER grant totalling $4.3 million that would fund 21 firefighters over the next two years. Mitchell says he's optimistic the City will receive the grant.
Cabral implied if the City does not receive the grant, already existing brownouts of fire engines could become more frequent.