Jackson awarded “Safer Grant”; more firefighters expected

JACKSON, Mich (WLNS) – The on-again, off-again grant that would clear the way for the city of Jackson to hire more firefighters is on.

The city of Jackson has been given a $1.6 million grant from the federal government that allows the city to hire nine firefighters for two years.

The grant is designed to help cities that have understaffed fire departments.

“Officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency were quick to work with the city when they saw that negotiations with the firefighters’ union were going smoothly, and an agreement was forthcoming,” City Manager Patrick Burtch said. “We very much appreciate their efforts and their willingness to work with us on acquiring the SAFER funds.”

Right now there are 15 firefighters serving the entire city.

Earlier this month the city council voted to approve the “Safer Grant” but only under certain conditions.

The city wants to make sure it doesn’t end up taking on extra costs for things like healthcare and retirement.

The firefighters union says it’s possible to accept the grant without any big cost to the taxpayer.

The original deadline was supposed to be two weeks ago but the Feds came in at the last minute giving them until October 23 as a new deadline.

Last Friday Jackson firefighters signed a new contract with the Jackson City Council.

During a special meeting, the Council voted to ratify a five year contract with the firefighters union.

The details of the contract highlight sacrifices from both firefighters and the city, including wage increases for firefighters and changes to health insurance and pension reforms.

The firefighters have been working without a contract since the last one expired in July.

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