Wilmington plans to add 13 firefighters

City officials have announced plans to add 13 firefighters to the Wilmington Fire Department, thanks to a $1.7 million federal grant.

The funding, announced Thursday by Delaware’s Congressional Delegation, was made possible through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER).

“With Delaware’s fire companies struggling with serious budget challenges, our firefighters need this help now more than ever,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “This grant helps the Wilmington Fire Department maintain the mandatory number of personnel and helps train more firefighters to perform at their very best during times of crisis.”

The two-year grant would enable the city to hire firefighters as well as reduce a projected budget deficit for fiscal year 2012.

If the City Council approves the administration’s plan, the grant would:

Allow for the addition of 13 firefighters to the department to fill the positions of eight firefighters who were laid-off in Fiscal Year 2010 and fill five positions that are currently vacant due to attrition.
Reduce general fund salary expenditures for the WFD in FY 2012 by a projected $350,000 by substituting SAFER grant dollars for general fund dollars that are currently appropriated for the five vacant WFD positions.
Reduce general fund overtime expenditures for the WFD in FY 2012 by a projected $150,000 because of additional firefighters on staff.

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