Bourne Selectmen Vote To Retain Federal Firefighting Grant

Bourne FireBOURNE – Eight firefighters and paramedics in Bourne will be keeping their jobs after selectmen voted to retain a $1.3 million federal grant paying for their salaries.

In a 3-2 vote, selectmen chose to keep the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant, which was awarded to the town in August so the department could retain eight members of the staff originally hired under an initial federal grant two years ago.

But the grant was put in jeopardy following October’s failed $2.7 million proposition two and a half tax override. Under the terms of the grant, the town would forfeit the money if staffing cuts were made. Initial plans called for the town to lay off two firefighters from their own budget following the rejection of the override.

Bourne finance officials recommended that those positions be saved from the budget cuts after the town’s ambulance service generated $1.6 million in revenue, higher than initially expected. With the vote by selectmen, the federal grant will provide funding for the additional eight firefighters for the next two years, which represents a key boost to staffing, according to Board Chairman Stephen Mealy

“We’re able to staff, fully, all three of our outlying stations,” Mealy said. The town has stations in Buzzards Bay, Sagamore, and Pocasset.

The grant was secured in August by U.S. Congressman Bill Keating (D-Bourne).

“One of the most important impacts our government can have is providing our first responders with the funding they need to operate effectively, efficiently, and safely. The benefits of grants to firefighters are seen day in and day out in the lives saved and the communities protected. As always, I commend the chiefs and the entire fire department of these towns for their great work and dedication to our communities,” Keating said.

The SAFER grant program supports fire department hiring nationwide.

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