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MetroWest to Receive Nearly $350K in Stimulus Funding to Rehire Municipal Fire Fighters

November 23, 2009

November 23, 2009

Moving to help municipal police and fire departments across the Commonwealth impacted by budget cuts that have forced layoffs and vacancies resulting from attrition, Massachusetts will release $349,477 in federal stimulus funds to to MetroWest towns to hire, rehire or retain  firefighters in four fire departments. The funds will also be used to support additional shift staffing needs.

“We have moved quickly to provide vital assistance to our fire departments,” said Senator Karen Spilka. “This is funding each town needs to help ensure the safety and security of its residents.”

Franklin will receive $135,537, Framingham will receive $89,940, Natick will receive $80,000, and Hopkinton will receive $44,000.  In total, $71 million in federal recovery funds are being directed to local public safety officials.

Funds are also being allocated for police departments across the Commonwealth.  Today’s announcement marks the first round of awards to police departments and the second round to fire departments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Police grants are supported by Department of Justice/Byrne Grants and firefighters grants are funded through discretionary stimulus funds Governor Patrick set aside specifically to help fire departments address staffing reductions caused by the current recession.

“The economic crisis has hit cities and towns hard and forced communities to lay off the men and women sworn to protect us,” said Governor Patrick. “With these stimulus funds, we can eliminate dangerous understaffing, put people to work and give our police and fire departments the resources they need to keep our residents safe. I commend our partners in the Congressional Delegation for making this critical funding possible.”

“This funding will help restore critical public safety jobs, benefiting all of us in our time of need,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “These rehired positions will not only ensure the safety of our Massachusetts residents, but will also put people back to work.  I am grateful to our Congressional Delegation for the work they did to provide us with the funding to put people back to work.”

“The recession has hit our entire state and entire country hard and Worcester is no exception,” said Congressman James McGovern. “Worcester is the second largest city in New England. We need a robust police and fire department. We should do everything we can not to jeopardize that.”

Police departments will receive $6.2 million. 147 cities and towns previously received a combined total of $15,749,229 in police grants directly from ARRA earlier this year.

The administration will direct $11.6 million to fire departments across the Commonwealth. Because the ARRA program does not include staffing grants for fire departments, the Governor set aside funds specifically to retain and rehire fire fighters in communities throughout Massachusetts earlier this year. The federal Recovery Act does make $210 million available nationally for fire departments to compete for grants to support the renovation and construction of local fire stations.

124 police departments and 87 fire departments submitted applications to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) for the two staffing grant programs. EOPSS used formulas based on budgets, staffing issues and public safety concerns to determine which departments received grants.

“These stimulus funds will help keep our fire stations open and will keep police officers on the street,” said Representative David Linsky, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight. “Without the federal stimulus funds, we would have had massive layoffs of police officers and firefighters.”



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