05.02.14

SCHUMER: RICHMOND FIRE DEPARTMENT AT RISK OF LOSING $36K IN CRITICAL GRANT DUE TO EXPIRATION DATE SENATOR URGES FEDS TO EXTEND TIMETABLE SO RICHMOND CAN KEEP REMAINDER OF GRANT PURCHASE LIFE-SAVING RADIO EQUIPMENT

brRichmond Fire District Received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant in 2011 To Purchase Critical Radio Equipment; But Even Though $36K Still Remain, FEMA Is Set To Take Funds Away In Coming Days Richmond Has Delayed Purchase of New Radios Until New Tower Could be BuiltbrbrSchumer, In Letter To FEMA Administrator, Urges FEMA To Provide Much-Needed Extension To Allow Richmond FD To Purchase 26 Fire-Resistant Radios It Still Needs from Rochester Company Harris RFbrbrSchumer: These Funds Should N

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged FEMA to extend the period of performance for the Richmond Fire Department's Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) so they do not lose the over $36,000 remaining from the grant award. Schumer explained that Richmond has had to wait to purchase new radios until a new radio tower was constructed to make them functional. Schumer said that Richmond should not be unfairly punished for their practical decision, and instead be given more time to spend their grant award. Without the $36,088.76, the Richmond FD would still pursue the acquisition of new radios, but would have to use their own funds.

"The Richmond Fire Department made a practical, common sense decision to wait on their purchase of new radios until they could actually function properly with a new radio tower - and FEMA shouldn't punish them for that prudence. For a fire department like Richmond's, where budgets are always tight, $36,000 is a significant amount of money and it would be a downright shame if FEMA stuck to this hard expiration date," said Schumer. "So I'm urging that FEMA extend the period of performance for Richmond's grant, so they can use the funds as they were intended and purchase the equipment they need to continue keeping residents safe."

In late 2011, Richmond Fire Department was awarded a AFG grant for the purchase of new fireresistant radios. They were able to purchase some equipment initially, but had to wait to purchase the bulk of the new radios they need  until a new radio tower was erected near the district to make the system functional for the community. Because this new system was not functional during the period of performance, Richmond was forced to delay their radio order. They now have $36,088.79 remaining in their grant allowance that they will not be able to draw down unless FEMA extends the period of performance on their grant. Therefore, Schumer is asking that FEMA give them the necessary leeway to finish spending their grant. Without the remaining $36,088.79 the Richmond Fire District cannot purchase the radios that are desperately needed. The $36,088.79 from this grant is 37% of their total cost for radio equipment.

Dear Administrator Fugate:

I write in support of a request by the Richmond Fire District to extend its period of performance for new radio communications equipment through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program (AFG) (EMW2011FR00631) in order to draw down the remaining $36,088.79 grant balance which is now held by the West Lake Road Fire Association Inc. Having access to this remaining funding is critical to the Richmond Fire District, as new radios are essential to volunteer firefighters and public safety.

This AFG grant was awarded in late 2011 as a multidepartment regional AFG Grant for the purchase of radios and pagers. While the Richmond Fire District was able to purchase some equipment in their first draw and some in the interim as a bandaid solution, they need to purchase 18 mobile and 8 portable radios with the remaining grant balance. They will be matching $12,745.84 plus an additional $564.00 for a total of $13,309.84 for this order. The Richmond Fire District did radio tests in conjunction with Ontario County which showed deficiency in their district for both 700 MHZ and 400 MHZ bands. Neither Harris RF (the company producing the radios) nor Ontario County could provide Richmond with an infrastructure solution to the problem until a new radio tower was erected near the district to make the system functional for the community. Because this new system was not functional during the period of performance, Richmond was forced to delay their radio order.

Without the remaining $36,088.79 the Richmond Fire District cannot purchase the radios that are desperately needed. The $36,088.79 from this grant is 37% of their total cost for radio equipment. If the Richmond Fire District cannot utilize this grant money it will have a major impact on the District's operating expenses. In addition, the District is located in a unique area of Ontario county and must maintain the old 46 radio system for mutual aid partners in Livingston County who are not on the new system yet.

Therefore, I ask that you give this grant extension request utmost consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senator



Previous Article Next Article