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Fire district denied grants

By DAVID HUTTON The Press-News Published: August 26, 2016 10:00 AM

SANDY TWP. / The Mohawk Valley Joint Fire District has learned its efforts to secure grants for a new fire truck and safety equipment have come up short.

"They turned us down because the government ran out of funds," said Fire Chief Jim Marraccini. "We were on the list to receive grants, but they ran out of money."

Approximately $630 million had been appropriated for the federal grants program.

Gatchell Grant Resources last fall submitted grants for the fire district for $425,000 grant for vehicle acquisition and $325,000 for safety gear and equipment.

The fire district paid $1,300 for the grant-writing services. If the grant proposals are unsuccessful, Gatchell will re-file the grants in October at no additional cost to the fire district.

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The district also will cite any ongoing issues with equipment or vehicles to demonstrate its need. Gatchell will update the grants to reflect those issues.

"We are hopeful that we can move up the list and be a higher priority the next time around," Marraccini said.

The board also approved charge letters that Marraccini drafted to be sent to four members of the department who have failed to keep up on their training hours.

"These letters will detail the charges that they have to answer to," Board President Bruce Weisburn said.

The four firefighters are Dan Barnes, Kelly Barnes, Johnny Butler and Zack Wagner.

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The four are allegedly delinquent in their CE hours and have made no calls.

According to the fire district's procedures, which were adopted in March 2015, each employee shall be required to attend 18 hours of continuing education per year. In addition, firefighters are expected to respond to emergency and service calls on a regular basis.

Hearings for the four will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8.

One of the cases likely was settled when the district accepted the resignation of Butler, who in a letter said a new job has made it impossible for him to continue as a volunteer firefighter at this time.

In other business, the board:

/ PAID bills totaling $1,393.07.

/ RECEIVED $65.60 from River Valley Paper Co. for recycling for June.

/ RECEIVED a demonstration of the new helmet lights and body lights purchased with a $10,000 grant the district received.

/ HEARD the fire district has responded to 72 calls to date, with an average of 6.8 firefighters responding to each call.

The next meeting of the Mohawk Valley Joint Fire District is at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at the fire station, located at 8285 Waynesburg Drive.

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