Watertown Fire Department Receives Grant To Hire FourPosted: Updated:
The Watertown city fire department has received a $561,000 grant to hire four additional firefighters.
Assuming the city council agrees to accept the grant, the firefighters would be on duty as early as January.
Word of the grant comes as the city and its firefighters union are locked in a protracted struggle over the minimum number of firefighters who must be on duty at all times. One condition of the grant: staffing levels have to stay the same over the three years the grant covers.
The grant is coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Watertown fire chief Dale Herman told 7 News Friday "We're very pleased that our grant was reviewed by the committee, who viewed the city's need for this program." Herman said the fire department was notified of the grant Wednesday by Senator Charles Schumer's office.
The grant pays 75 percent of the firefighters' salaries and benefits during the first two years, and less during the third year.
The city council is expected to consider accepting the grant at its next regular meeting, September 17.