1. #1
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    Default 2011 AFG looks to be in the works...

    According to the CFSI email from this morning Congress has 2011 AFG and 2011 SAFER both at $420mil. Wish someone would get through to them before they push it through and drop SAFER back to $210mil since they can't even give away 2009's $210mil let alone the $420mil in 2010. That would be what's taking so long, those that run the departments (municipalities) don't want the awards because of the restrictions so they're digging to find people to take the money as those that scored higher refuse the awards. Just like 2008...

    Hopefully they work quickly enough to not have to give money back to the Treasury, although paying off the Chinese debt is always a good thing...

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    I agree with you. I think that they need to drop the station grant side and put the funding back into AFG for the departments that can't afford the needed equipment, training etc. Thats is what the AFG program was suppose to be for..

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    Quote Originally Posted by WJ55 View Post
    I agree with you. I think that they need to drop the station grant side and put the funding back into AFG for the departments that can't afford the needed equipment, training etc. Thats is what the AFG program was suppose to be for..
    Station grants were a part of ARRA, not AFG/SAFER, etc. SAFER is looked at as a job stimulus as it puts FF's on the street and will not be lowered any time soon.

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    Just to be accurate, the point of SAFER is to put FFs on the street. Statistics are pointing the other way just the same as the COPS program did. Can't make a copy of a failure and expect it to work. SAFER is needed but the old version would have kept more long-term jobs than the new one. Several awardees for 2009 have already notified those whose jobs were saved to look for something else when the federal money runs out since the local economy won't be able to pick them up after it runs out and doubtful another SAFER award will be given to keep them there. There's only so much short-term gratification that can be thrown at an issue before everything fails at once if no long-term solutions are found.

    Plus would be better in station grants than SAFER, departments have failing buildings costing tens of thousands of dollars to keep up every year where a nice $1-2mil shot would eliminate those costs for decades, saving on maintenance which could then be used to purchase equipment and handle personnel expansion. That's why close to 90% of grants in the private sector only pay for capital items; personnel & utility costs happen every month and if you can't handle those on your own to keep the organization afloat no sense in making a donation to the organization. SAFER has it's purpose in helping those whose areas expanded quickly to catch up before the tax revenues arrive from the growth but it's no job saving solution, it's just a piece of tape with a cotton ball where a tourniquet is needed.

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    Well contact us...our grant is still in limbo and we would gladly put the money to use to fund jobs that we lost through attrition and potential layoffs. This is one grant that would help save our department and keep people fighting fires with a safe number.

    Really wish this would come through for us.

    Any idea if new 1199As are still goin out and when are the DJs coming?

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    Stations do not put out fires. Personnel and equipment does.
    I could see the need for fire fepartment that needs the stations, but some of the outrageous moneys that was allocated for these stations was ridiculus.. Let's get real..

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    I agree with MoneyMan. We have lost 25 ff's (in our case an entire shift) since 2009. We need the manpower! Fire fatalities are up in our community, injuries are up, fires are up as well. We have finally got many parties on the same page to keep these people working by finally allowing us to provide EMS. So keeping them isn't as big of a problem, as getting them. I also agree with BC79er, it is important for us to have a strong infrastructure. But if we have no ff's to put into those new stations, to train, or purchase equipment for, then its all for nothing to me.

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    If the point of SAFER is to acquire new hires, then they need to lessen the restrictions and particulars within the guidelines. Just help the locals hire additonal FF's and if they are able to keep them, keep them. If unable, let them go.

    If they do not loosen up SAFER guidelines, then half its funding and transfer it to AFG.

    Any idea on when this will be voted on in the Senate?

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    Wasn't an outrageous price on any station that I saw, and if you're thinking that you haven't priced commercial construction lately. Dept before last built 3 identical HFD spec stations with 4 drive-thru double bays, went from $1.25mil in 2003 to around $1.7 for the 3rd one just completed. Didn't include land, and did include some of the least expensive labor rates in the country even by DOL standards that had to be used in the FSC program. Stations are 50+ year items, and by calculations the most cost-beneficial over their lifetime.

    Now obviously you need people in those stations, but only if expanding, not replacing. If your staffing is being reduced, why is that? Odds are money problems from the local economy, and not something that "just happened". Staffing is the most local decision there is in the fire service because the number of people is dependent on how much the local economy can sustain over the LONG TERM. A 2 year layoff delay is the most shortsided, knee-jerked reaction there could have been with the redesign of the program. We had almost 50 clients not apply because they could take the 100% in Year 5 but not Year 3 because they had a LONG TERM staffing solution in place with the boost from a SAFER award. These 2 year delays are doing nothing because the recipient municipalities are probably going to put their head in the sand for 2 years, not worry about solving anything, and then scream again that they need more money after flushing a ton down the drain on other projects in the meantime.

    Another thread amused me too in the other section about people complaining they aren't running apparatus on EMS runs. DC stopped doing that a while ago, so did a lot of other areas once they realized the cost of running the BRTs on calls that they weren't needed at. EMS runs need EMS trained personnel in a EMS/cost-effective vehicle responding, those trained to go into the burning buildings need to have enough equipment and people available at all times to make those calls. Ladder trucks and pumpers don't belong on EMS runs because they cost too much to maintain when they're only being used as people movers. Money is going to be tight for a long time and the successful departments (ie the ones that don't have money problems right now) realized that it's much better to be efficient from the start so things like this don't happen.

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    i wish they would have had a rural section to the station grants. One that would many give maybe $50,000 for a metal building with 4 bays to help rural fire departments. They way they can use the money saved to buy equipment. It takes several years for fire departments with budgets under $30,000 to svae up for a new station. My station leaks badly and I still don't have real over head doors We have just sheet matel doors that we have to manually swing open.

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    Brian your last three posts here were so spot on I had to stand up from my office chair and give you a standing ovation! I could not agree more with every single point you made.

    New problems always require new thinking and too much money is being spent trying to maintain the status quo instead of looking at how efficient or economical the methods you are using really are. It is also time to start looking at the "cost benefit" of doing something instead of just "doing it" because that's the way we have always done it.

    I have bemoaned the financial waste of sending a 10 ton behemoth pumper or ladder on EMS runs for sometime now and I know factually, that those departments, who have heeded my suggestion that they curtail that practice and move to a more economical vehicle for those tasks, have realized true economic savings to their "yearly operating costs". This is not rocket science here folks 12-15 miles per gallon vs 6-8 miles per gallon, adds up quickly if figured over the 5-10 year term.

    Energy inefficient buildings, for departments that are occupied 24-7, are a significant drain on operating capital and retrofitting to modern efficiency standards makes huge longterm economic sense. But you should also be looking at why is our building in such disrepair? What I frequently have found is that no thought was ever given to the eventual need to maintain, upgrade or expand in the face of future growth. It was relegated to the back burner in favor of other things. Now that is not to say that the firefighters themselves were making these decisions, it was the governing bodies "head in the sand" attitudes that are the root cause here and which are now surfacing.

    Our country, inclusive of the fire service, is facing a long term problem here. Economic recovery back to levels we had in 2005-2008 is a pipe dream. We will likely never see a return to those levels again. We need to quit thinking of the past and start thinking of ways to maximize what we have. Necessity is the mother of invention and the future leaders of our fire service have a chance now to set a new agenda and learn from the mistakes of the past.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    i wish they would have had a rural section to the station grants. One that would many give maybe $50,000 for a metal building with 4 bays to help rural fire departments. They way they can use the money saved to buy equipment. It takes several years for fire departments with budgets under $30,000 to svae up for a new station. My station leaks badly and I still don't have real over head doors We have just sheet matel doors that we have to manually swing open.
    For an economy station your best route will be USDA Rural Dev. (vs a $100+/ft2 palace). Grants based on income in community and most are 30%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    For an economy station your best route will be USDA Rural Dev. (vs a $100+/ft2 palace). Grants based on income in community and most are 30%.
    We were just awarded $150,000 from a USDA CDBG with a total project cost of $260,000. Our match will be $110,000. The good thing about the USDA grants is they allow you to complete some of the project yourself and count the dollar value of what you do towards your match requirement. We were turned down by AFG for a STC last year. The AFG application was a $1 million dollar facility. For $260k we are building about the same size facility but without all the bells and whistles required under the AFG program and are using a pre-engineered metal building instead of having to hire an architect and engineer like we did for AFG. We are a rural Oklahoma all volunteer fire department. Feel free to email me directly if you have any more questions and I can go into more detail about the process. david.bray@soienterprises.com

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    Did you receive a grant from USDA and a CDBG grant? We have utilized the USDA for a couple of grants, and have been working on a CDBG grant for a station as well, but they are two seperate programs.

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    It's also important to remember that although the CDBG program can be a great source of $$$ funding for brick and mortar projects, the department must serve a community that meets HUD's national objectives (i.e., majority low/moderate income population). Further, every county runs its CDBG programs differently so that where one county might award projects to fire companies, others may focus all of their CDBG funding on infrastructure improvement (sewers, roads, etc...) and consider fire department projects low priority. We just picked up a $100K CDBG grant to replace a fire station roof in one county, but found that fire department projects were low priority and highly unlikely to be funded two counties over.

    -dave

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    My mistake I wasn't thinking we got our funding from CDBG only.

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