Carson City Supervisors today decided to wait a year before applying for federal grants to expand the town’s firefighting force. Although the department was given hefty credit for doing a good job of protecting the public from fires, gas leaks, traffic crashes and the like, the FEMA grants came with strings attached. If they accepted the grants, the fire department would be bound to an agreement that once hired, the additional 6 to 9 firefighters could not be laid off due to unforeseen circumstances.
The supervisors acknowledged that the fire department needs four firefighters per engine which the FEMA grants would provide. But if the nation’s economy fails to regain “full health” quickly, it could force cuts to other departments city-wide – not the least of which is street rehabilitation.
In the end, the Supervisors, including former Fire Chief – now City Supervisor Stacey Giomi – agreed to postpone applying for the extra positions until the economy improves enough so the city could not only hire, but also retain the higher level of firefighting personnel.