By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – More firefighters could be coming to the city thanks to a federal grant.
The Allen Park Fire Department announced on its Facebook page Thursday that it had been selected to receive a $1.28 million FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that will pay complete salary and benefits for six new firefighters for the next two years. The department currently has 23, five below its minimum staffing levels.
Allen Park Fire Chief Doug LaFond said he applied for the grant with help from Allison Klein in January but was rejected. After submitting a 2012 application early, he learned another city had dropped out and Allen Park was taking its spot.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” LaFond said. “We’re very excited. It’s a lot of money.”
The post said the Fire Department was to receive the award on Friday. To receive the funds, the city council must vote on it, a move that recently sparked controversy in Taylor when its mayor declined to accept the grant because of what he described as hidden costs.
LaFond said the only additional costs come with unemployment compensation if the added firefighters are laid off when the grant ends.
“For every city that turns it down, there’s 50 that accept it,” he said. “What do the 50 know that the others don’t? I’ve read it about 100 times and I haven’t found the hidden costs.”
Allen Park Interim City Administrator Dave Boomer did not return phone calls seeking comment by press time.