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N.J. city council to reject $2.4M SAFER grant

A Hackensack spokesman said the application mistakenly called for funding for 12 firefighters, not the five positions the city council approved


Photo/Hackensack Fire Department

By Leila Merrill

HACKENSACK, N.J. — The City Council plans to turn down a SAFER grant worth nearly $2.4 million because they say it is too much, PIX11 reported this week.

The Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant would pay for 12 new firefighters over three years. After that, the city would have to cover the costs. The city has days to accept or turn down the grant.

Hackensack spokesman Nick Bond said that the federal grant application erroneously sought funding for 12 firefighters, not the five positions the city council approved.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco and area firefighters have been urging city council members to accept the grant.

“It’s very hard to win these competitive grants to hire firefighters,” said Gottheimer. “Every year firefighters retire, so it will help.”

Despite the congressman’s urging, the city plans to seek funds only for the original five approved positions, not 12.

“The city intends to submit a revised grant application for five firefighters, and with all due respect to Congressman Gottheimer, the City Council is acting in the best interests of Hackensack taxpayers by ensuring that its Fire Department continues to be appropriately staffed without adding unnecessary new hires that taxpayers cannot afford,” Bond said.


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