The Township Committee expressed their support in Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) being submitted by each of the local emergency services squads.
Each grant comes with a township match, which several committee members were concerned about.
“The chances of us getting all of these grants are slim. We’ll be lucky if one of our emergency services squad receives one…The competition is very, very strict out there,” Business Administrator Veronica Laureigh said.
The township has never seen a year where multiple emergency services received multiple grants, she said.
If the services were awarded each grant, the township would be responsible for $154,000. Although the committee did not make an official vote, the possibility of being awarded these grants would have to be factored into next year’s budget, Laureigh said.
“Basically it’s free money. We are somehow all contributing through our federal and state tax dollars. So we might as well try to get some of it back here at home through grants,” Laureigh said. “Overall, to the value of equipment we’re purchasing, is really a small amount.”
Committeeman Dave Most applauded the emergency services for looking into additional ways to receive funds, although the township matches attached to each grant do make him nervous.
“This is vital equipment that can save peoples lives,” he said.
Jim Letellier of Forked River recommended that each emergency service company begin to work together and use each other’s equipment.
“It’s a matter of needs and wants. We’re sitting in an economy where the country is $14 trillion in debt,” he said. “When people say this isn’t costing Lacey Township. This is costing Lacey Township, every resident. It’s going to cost my son. It’s going to cost my grandchildren.”
Local Emergency Services applied for the following AFG’s:
Lanoka Harbor EMS
Pagers: $71,440 grant; 5 percent township match ($3,572)
Polaris 6X6 ATV (used to transport patients out of small areas): 100 percent reimbursement grant
Lanoka Harbor Fire Department
Pumper Rescue: total cost is $425,000; $295,000 grant; $130,000 match from township.
Extrication Equipment- $40,000 grant with a $2,000 township match
Forked River Fire Department
Straight Tanker: $350,000 grant; 10 percent township match
Pagers: $23,000 grant; 10 percent township match
Vehicle Exhaust System: $45,000; 10 percent township match
Thermal Imaging Cameras: $20,000; 10 percent township match
Bamber Lake Fire Department
20 Scott Air Packs: $140,000 grant; 5 percent match
Lacey EMS (matching with their own funds)