The city of New Baltimore has been awarded a federal grant to help cover the cost of a new fire truck.
U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced Sept. 1 the city will receive the $370,699 grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant – COVID-19 Supplemental program and the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant program.
The grant will pay for about half of the cost of a new truck, city officials said. New fire trucks typically cost $1 million-plus.
“Firefighters across southeast Michigan put their lives on the line to protect our families, homes and communities,” Stabenow said in a news release. “These new resources will provide critical training and give our first responders the equipment they need to better serve the public and do their jobs safely and effectively.”
New Baltimore is one of four communities to receive grants. The Dearborn Fire Department will receive $90,400; the Canton Township Fire Department will receive $190,202, and the Rockwood Fire Department will receive $151,013.
“Firefighters and first responders are on the front lines, ensuring our communities are safe when emergencies strike,” Peters said in the release. “These federal funds will help ensure first responders across southeast Michigan have the resources and equipment needed to do their jobs safely and effectively.”
New Baltimore officials have continued to work out plans to finance the city’s police and fire departments. At an Aug. 17 work study, the city council voted to allocate $400,000 from the general fund for immediate police and fire needs, which will likely include radio upgrades, fire turnout gear and computers.
At their Aug. 24 regular meeting, council members discussed the possibility of a establishing a special assessment levy for police and fire.
“I do support council looking at the special assessment district for our police and fire departments,” council member Flo Hayman said. “I think they’re both needed and I think that we need to do it in a timely fashion.”
“I, in no way, will ever support just levying a millage or assessment on the citizens without a vote,” Mayor Pro-Tem David Duffy said. “So I would like us to see what our real needs are … and make sure it goes to a vote of the people.”
Low staffing levels in both the police and fire departments are also posing a challenge. The fire department currently has 12 members, officials said. The city is hoping to hire a new full-time firefighter.
Also on Aug. 24, the council unanimously approved a $7,500 quote from Prat LLC to provide diversity/implicit bias training to city employees, including any elected officials who would like to attend.
“We have partnered up with Macomb County, their Leadership Macomb group,” Mayor John Dupray said. “Our goal is for this to be in person in the park in September so that it’ll still be warm enough and we can spread it out and have the proper social distancing.”
“We need to have this training,” he added.
“It’s a good piece of education, that’s for sure,” council member Laura Szymanski noted.
The motion to approve the quote was made by council member Jacob Dittrich, supported by council member Carl Weinreich and unanimously approved.
Katelyn Larese is a Local News Editor at The Voice. She can be contacted at 586-273-6196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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