1. #1
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    Default question on leftover funds

    I have read the 27th page of the 2004 AFG Guidence.....Ok we were awarded PPE,turnout coats and pants and also leather boots....ok what i am asking is that we have 4900 dollars left that we would like to spend on PPE...ok do I have to spend those funds on more turnout coats and pants or leather boots or can I spend those funds on PPE Cairns 1010 helments without having to write an amendment.....

    Thanks

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    You have to write an amendment for anything other than what you applied for, even if it's more of the same things. But there is no reason I can think of that it won't be accepted, it's just a formality.

    You never want to spend any money without putting it past your FPS first, even if it is allowed. As I put in another thread, the worst thing you can do is surprise a DHS Auditor when they come in to check your paperwork and equipment. They don't like surprises, and neither will you when they're done. This is the one time where it is not easier to ask for forgiveness instead of approval.

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    We spent our extra 5k on equipment other than what we applied for. It was no problem getting the approval even thought it was for 4 or 5 separate items. It just takes an e-mail to get the approval so there's no reason not to ask in advance. I've said it here before - they want you to spend it all.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

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    Exactly jbozeck, they do not want the money back and usually are very lenient and generous in approving additional requests for equipment. The main thing is still though to "get permission in writing first".
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    ok thanks yall for the important info

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    I wouldn't go so far to say it's a simple formality to receive approval on an ammendment. We have some funds remaining after we purchased everything on our grant list (SCBA's & RIT equipment). We applied to use the extra funds for a cascade system which, if you ask me, stays within the scope of the original award, but we received a denial.

    The denial email pointed us back to the infamous page 27 of the guide, which doesn't say squat about what to do with funds if they're greater than $5K.

    Anyone have any ideas? Or, am I "stuck" creating a huge fire prevention program?

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    They denied you because your cascade was probably more than $5k. The rules, which even they can't break becuase they are set by Congressional law, clearly state that you can use UP TO $5k for additional equipment (within the scope of the original project) but that ALL funds in excess of $5K and up to $15k must go to fire prevention only; there are no if's, and's, or but's about that.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Then I suggest we start lobbying to change the law for 2007.

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    Won't happen because it was already changed from having no limit in the early years. People took advantage of the system and applied for more money than needed to get the project taken care of, and had so much in excess funds they went out and bought low priority items that they knew wouldn't be funded if included in the original application. In addition to items that really weren't needed just bought to spend the money, some smaller fleet vehicles (chief's cars, utility, brush trucks) were also purchased, since it technically wasn't against the rules at the time. Hence, the change to the current system. The current arrangement allows for more awards with the given funding.

    The flip side is: if you needed the cascade system, why didn't you apply for it?

    And no, it isn't part of the original scope of the project of SCBA and RIT. Same way that PPE and SCBA are not the same project, they are two projects. Cascade systems and SCBA are related, but they are not the same project, and therefore not within the same scope. The assumption is that if you already have SCBA and do not ask for a cascade, that you already have a way to fill bottles that fits your needs. Otherwise it would have been asked for in the application. Just like wildland PPE and structural PPE are also two projects.

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    And if anyone wants to lobby for anything, how about lobbying for more money first. If we just keep sitting around and taking the funding cuts, we'll end up with nothing in the program shortly. Remember, the program is authorized for $1 billion from 2005-2011. But that just means the program has to exist. Congress is under no obligation to put ANY money into AFG if they don't want to. They could fund it with $100 if they felt like it. It is up to us to hit up our representatives to put the funding back to $750 million and even higher.

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    Far be it from me to post a rebuttal to the "King of AFG", , but your opinion on SCBA/RIT and cascade systems being out of scope of each other is simply that, your opinion. Our operations area is moving to the On Deck concept where air and work cycle management is of utmost importance. Each bottle needs to be topped off after each work cycle, thus the need for a mobile cascade system to augment the SCBA/RIT component of our original grant.

    Why didn't I include it in the original grant? Because the On Deck concept didn't get implemented until fourth quarter 2005, our grant was due April, 2004.

    Since you also pointed out that this has changed since earlier years due to departments gaming the system, maybe some blame should be placed on the AFG administration for not adequately vetting earlier amendments in relation to program priorites. Face it, based on the new rules they don't need an amendment process; you can spend $5K on more of the same without approval and the balance on your fire prevention program. You'll face a Federal inquisition if you do anything other than that.

    As for more money. Do you really think that the Feds are going to spend more money on basic fire protection, especially in light of Katrina? The same thing that happened after 9/11 with terrorism is going to happen with Katrina; all the money is going to prepare us for the previous disaster. That is, if we can keep DoD from taking disaster response away from us.

    Thank you BC79er for all you do on this forum
    . You and the others out there have made a huge difference for hundreds of departments across the country.

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    I wouldn't say King, there's only one of those usually and I'm not quite feeling like a despot right about know. Besides, Kings only admit that their way is the way, they know everything, and I don't believe either of that that for a second.

    The reason you still need an amendment to spend the $5K is so that they know you spent it on eligible items before coming to visit. And since this program is law, prior to this process being implemented they couldn't prevent anyone from doing anything under the guise that if it isn't stated to be illegal, then it must be legal. There were also departments doing other things that I won't mention here, far from allowed under the program. So this process is just ensuring that proper controls and procedures are followed PRIOR to someone screwing up and costing their department the entire grant. All they are saying is ask permission first so that they don't have to come take your stuff. Because if you screw up, when the audit comes, your stuff will go because again, it is law and there is no wiggle room to be let off as a "first offender" or pleading ignorance. As we're discussing in the Generator Slab forum, it is the dept's responsibility to ensure that everything they are doing is proper, and the only way to do that is communicate with the FPS. They will go to the wall for depts to keep and spend their funds, as long as it's within the program's guidelines. But only to the wall, not over.

    I can't argue that the separation of SCBA and a cascade being two project is my opinion, but I will mention that after dealing with a few thousand applications over the past 5 years, I must admit it's a pretty educated opinion, backed up by historical evidence in the awards and denials. As well as talking with various personnel throughout FEMA, USFA, and DHS.

    As further food for the discussion, think of it as simply as possible: SCBA's purpose is protecting the lungs of the firefighters. Cascade systems refill them. You need to have your own SCBA per national standards. You do not need to have your own cascade. So when you are applying for SCBA and a cascade, they are in fact two projects with two purposes, regardless of how closely related they are. It sounds very anal, I admit that, but the difference between success and failure does lie in the minute details of the applications.

    The feds already approved disaster spending for the hurricanes, after AFG's funding level was chosen and was basically waiting to be signed into law when the 'canes hit. So considering that the next funding level will be coming from a different fiscal year, any monies going to future disasters will be separated from grant funding. The money is there, it's just being moved to other things that don't have the global effect of this grant program. If they knew how far reaching the benefits are, they'd stop taking money from it. Problem is all they hear are the people complaining that they never win and it's a fixed program. People that have 5 trucks newer than 10 years and claim they can't afford PPE. People that don't understand the purpose and scope of the program. When they hear the people complaining more than the people cheering, they take money away from it. We need the full court press to show that the program is the most fair and cost-effective to administer ever, and it needs more money to fulfill it's goals.

    Thank you BC79er for all you do on this forum. You and the others out there have made a huge difference for hundreds of departments across the country.
    Glad to be of assistance. Like DianeC's tagline from Jim Henson on his view of life, I'm just happy to have been able to make things a little better for some folks while I'm on this side of the grass.

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    We had some money left over so a few weeks ago I put in an amendment to purchase an additional mobile radio in addition to the 4 I originally requested. I also asked for a simplex repeater for our pagers. I was approved for the amendment.

    Last week I put in an amendment for 6 additional pagers. Within 12 hours I received a phone call from our local grant specialist, and she said I didnt need to submit an amendment for the pagers, even though my original grant had no pagers in it. She said I would probably get denied for the admendment because the pagers would be covered in the $5k (havent heard anything yet) but I could go ahead and get the pagers anyway.

    I just wanted the approval in writing. It has been close to 2 weeks since I sent in the last amendment, I have already received the pagers so we will see.

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