Residents might feel a bit safer to to know that the Trenton Fire Department is hiring six new firefighters after receiving from the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters grant program.
The grant money will allow the fire department to pay for salary and benefits for six employees for two years. The city could receive up to one year of additional funding if former military personnel are hired.
Trenton Fire Chief Bruce Vick said he would begin hiring immediately. City officials are required to accept the money and begin the hiring process within 90 days of the issue date, which was Friday.
City council members voted unanimously to accept the grant money Monday night at a regular city council meeting.
Before voting, Councilwoman MaryEllen McLeod said she was concerned about a stipulation in the grant that restricts city officials from laying off fire department employees during the grant's two-year time-line.
Program Director Barb Olsen, who wrote the grant, said the city could apply for a waiver in the event of financial hardship.
Councilman Bill LeFever said he was glad to receive the funding because it would help cut down on over time costs caused by firefighters who are currently on medical leave. The city currently spends about $1,000 per day in overtime costs, according to LeFever.
"I feel very confident that we wont have any layoffs for two years," LeFever said. "This is a no-brainer. Not only will it make Trenton a safer community, but it will also cut down on overtime costs."