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Thread: Grant Reimbursement Question

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    Default Grant Reimbursement Question

    Have a AFG question for the guys who may know. We have applied for a regional AFG communication grant in our county. We have not been able to sit at the watering hole because our communication system has become all but non-functional. Actually it totally failed for 38 days, leaving us to work off of cell phones and text messages.

    We, as a county, are considering going forward with our plan and purchasing equipment that we need to join the Mississippi interoperability communication system. This is a very expensive step. If we go forward now, before AFG awards have been announced, could we use award funds to pay toward the bank loanmade before the award. Basically I'm asking can we buy now and pay later?


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    I'll wage in, Don't buy anything and expect to pay for it later with a AFG Grant.

    I feel for ya, political/the voting public's decisions affect us all. Sometimes they don't realize it will cost them more in the end, and their safety could be in jeopardy because of it.

    I'll let someone with much more knowledge add or correct anything I have stated above.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ktb9780's Avatar
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    Be careful, pre-award reimbursement for projects although allowed in extreme cases and on a case by case basis but they are risky at best. The problem being, if you are going to go out and buy the system early, have you not shot yourself in the foot in terms of "financial need"? Your supposed to be turning to the grant program because there is no other financial alternative available to you to buy it yourself. Not saying it is impossible but given the fact that the awards are scheduled to start in less than 1 month I would sit it out for another 60 days before making that move. You could also call your Fire Program Specialist, explain in considerable detail what has happened and what you are proposing to do and see what they advise. Don't expect them to tell you that your application is going to be funded, as that would violate their own internal rules and they technically cannot tell you that. If you were my client my advice to you would be sit it out for another 60 days first.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Thanks for the feed back. I hope we have an AFG answer in 60 days. We MUST make a move pretty soon, one way or another. There are 12 vol. dept. in our county, some of which can afford to purchase a partial purchase of radios. I guess I wasn't really clear in my original post.

    I am in agreement, wait and see for a few months.

    Again, thanks for feedback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Volchief View Post
    Thanks for the feed back. I hope we have an AFG answer in 60 days. We MUST make a move pretty soon, one way or another. There are 12 vol. dept. in our county, some of which can afford to purchase a partial purchase of radios. I guess I wasn't really clear in my original post.

    I am in agreement, wait and see for a few months.

    Again, thanks for feedback.
    No problem feel free to ask any time!
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Default 1199a's and award numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    No problem feel free to ask any time!
    Has anyone seen an award number in their 1199a yet? I have been lurking around and have not heard a word about them. If they are going to start awarding soon, you would think there would be some chatter about award numbers. I also wonder if they are going to try to get the application period back to where it used to be? I remember Kurt giving me a call in July of 2007 telling me to check my apps because an award number appeared. Your thoughts?

    Kelly

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    Quote Originally Posted by imafireman View Post
    Has anyone seen an award number in their 1199a yet? I have been lurking around and have not heard a word about them. If they are going to start awarding soon, you would think there would be some chatter about award numbers. I also wonder if they are going to try to get the application period back to where it used to be? I remember Kurt giving me a call in July of 2007 telling me to check my apps because an award number appeared. Your thoughts?



    Kelly
    Well Kelly, long time , no hear from you!. Awards are supposed to start in April so we should be seeing 1199a updates at any time. As afar as getting back on track... they are already past that if you count prior to 3 years ago when you could count on it being open in March-April but I don't think we will see a December time frame like 2013. Latest information out of program office that I have is to expect a June-Juy opening date.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volchief View Post
    Have a AFG question for the guys who may know. We have applied for a regional AFG communication grant in our county. We have not been able to sit at the watering hole because our communication system has become all but non-functional. Actually it totally failed for 38 days, leaving us to work off of cell phones and text messages.
    38 days? REALLY? Why did your agencies allow that to happen?

    Where was your backup system? Where was your dealer? WTF?

    Talk about planning to fail. No, and if I offend, GOOD. Maybe it will help you to never let it happen again.

    What are you going to do for alerting if you to go the state system? Paging does not work, and you will have to equip everybody with a very expensive radios. Can your departments afford to replace those radios, can they afford to maintain those radios, can they afford to replace batteries/antennas, etc? (Newer digital radios are using batteries that come close to or exceed the cost of new analog radios in many cases)

    2 years ago, MSWIN was talking about charging user fees. Then they said they would not. Now they are talking about it again. Can you afford those user fees? Be warned, they can be VERY steep fees. (Ask IL) (Thank God I am in Missouri and we don't have even any whispers of fees).

    Also be forewarned - the system is built out to MOBILE coverage. Not portable. Coverage on portables is MUCH different than mobiles.

    Remember also, you don't have to buy Motorola radios. Even though they cost more, does not make them better.

    EF Johnson
    Harris
    Kenwood
    Kenwood
    Motorola
    Relm
    Tait
    Thales

    All make compatable radios.
    islandfire03 likes this.

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    Since you have to act and the Peer Review process is pretty much done, you can make a request for an emergency purchase amendment and state your case to the FPS for your area. What the amendment is asking for when you write is it that your system failed and now you have to investigate replacing components specified in the grant. Since you have to match the grant anyway, whatever you applied for involves local money already in place, so if you were going in for $200k and if you were at 10% you'd have $20k in cash available in theory. Put in the amendment what has to be purchased immediately and how much it costs, and if it's more than the grant match say how you're going to make that part of it happen (lease, loan, borrow, etc). If they say yes, you can do what you need to do and reimburse when you're awarded. It's done a lot of times with PPE and SCBA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ktb9780 View Post
    Well Kelly, long time , no hear from you!. Awards are supposed to start in April so we should be seeing 1199a updates at any time. As afar as getting back on track... they are already past that if you count prior to 3 years ago when you could count on it being open in March-April but I don't think we will see a December time frame like 2013. Latest information out of program office that I have is to expect a June-Juy opening date.
    Thank you Kurt for the update. It has been quite a while. Things have been really hectic on this end. Next time you are in PA, we will have to get together. Rumor has it you may be coming this way again in 2014. If things do not work out on that and you need a place to host, your always welcome in our station. Looking forward to seeing you.

    Kelly

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    Quote Originally Posted by imafireman View Post
    Thank you Kurt for the update. It has been quite a while. Things have been really hectic on this end. Next time you are in PA, we will have to get together. Rumor has it you may be coming this way again in 2014. If things do not work out on that and you need a place to host, your always welcome in our station. Looking forward to seeing you.

    Kelly
    Will do Kelly. Closing up a deal with Shanksville to come in there. Will keep you advised.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    38 days? REALLY? Why did your agencies allow that to happen?

    Where was your backup system? Where was your dealer? WTF?

    Talk about planning to fail. No, and if I offend, GOOD. Maybe it will help you to never let it happen again.

    What are you going to do for alerting if you to go the state system? Paging does not work, and you will have to equip everybody with a very expensive radios. Can your departments afford to replace those radios, can they afford to maintain those radios, can they afford to replace batteries/antennas, etc? (Newer digital radios are using batteries that come close to or exceed the cost of new analog radios in many cases)

    2 years ago, MSWIN was talking about charging user fees. Then they said they would not. Now they are talking about it again. Can you afford those user fees? Be warned, they can be VERY steep fees. (Ask IL) (Thank God I am in Missouri and we don't have even any whispers of fees).

    Also be forewarned - the system is built out to MOBILE coverage. Not portable. Coverage on portables is MUCH different than mobiles.

    Remember also, you don't have to buy Motorola radios. Even though they cost more, does not make them better.

    EF Johnson
    Harris
    Kenwood
    Kenwood
    Motorola
    Relm
    Tait
    Thales

    All make compatable radios.
    There are several issues. Of course the county owns the system so they drug their feet on getting the repair made, it was during the holidays and they had difficulties getting a tower company to climb the tower and then had to order parts for repair which took over a week to receive. All excuses but still took that much time. Unfortunately it was out of our hands but we learned a lot about our communications system from this. It sure has made us look at things differently and get more involved. As vol. Fire departments we have enough on our plate, didn't know we had to keep up with the communications system too!

    As far as MSWIN, our sheriff office has been on it for 3 years. They work on portables only. We are luck and have 4 towers within our county so we have great coverage. Six of the twelve vol. departments have demoed the MSWIN system and were very satisfied with coverage using portable radios.

    We had a representative attend a public meeting in January with MSWIN and the user fee was a big discussion. Every agency on the system has pledged to terminate their contract with MSWIN and return to their old system if any form of user fee is ever charged. 6 of the 12 vol.

    I've been in the fire service for 31 years, tried all the name brand radios, guess what we are using now.

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    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volchief View Post
    There are several issues. Of course the county owns the system so they drug their feet on getting the repair made, it was during the holidays and they had difficulties getting a tower company to climb the tower and then had to order parts for repair which took over a week to receive. All excuses but still took that much time. Unfortunately it was out of our hands but we learned a lot about our communications system from this. It sure has made us look at things differently and get more involved. As vol. Fire departments we have enough on our plate, didn't know we had to keep up with the communications system too!

    As far as MSWIN, our sheriff office has been on it for 3 years. They work on portables only.


    I've been in the fire service for 31 years, tried all the name brand radios, guess what we are using now.
    First off: I'm speechless that your county commissioners or whoever is in charge took 38 days to get an emergency communications system repaired. But then apparently you were speechless also: at least on your radio system

    There is no excuse for that.

    What are the guarantees that switching to really expensive radios to jump onto the mswin system will solve all the current problems. High tech systems have bugs that pop up and you need to have a backup available
    You will still need a system to page on and have to buy all new mobiles & portables for all apparatus & portables.

    If you all make the switch and they decide in the future to charge a fee, then what?
    You walk away with no other plan and no system in place to use your new expensive $$$$ radios.

    It sounds to me that your departments and County need to hire the services of a true communications engineer to design the proper system to meet your needs & budget. Not a radio salesman who is trying to sell you his product or push you onto someone else's system to cost share the load of running & maintaining it. It will save you money & aggravation in the long run.
    This information should have been compiled before submitting your regional communications grant.

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