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Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Alachua County Commission will vote Tuesday to accept or deny a $2 million grant awarded to Alachua County Fire Rescue.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant, worth more than $2 million, is designed to help departments employ more firefighters.

Bill Northcutt, deputy chief of operations at AFR, said the money will allow the department to respond more efficiently to emergencies.

The grant would cover the salaries of 22 additional firefighters.

With the money, firetrucks responding to rural area emergencies will operate with four firefighters instead of the current two, he said.

“It shows a need in the community that we are ready to fill,” Northcutt said.

If the Commission approves the grant, the department will be able to start hiring new employees 90 days later.

Newly hired firefighters who are military veterans will work a three-year paid term and non-veterans a two-year term.

Lee Pinkoson, an Alachua County commissioner, said the long-term effects of the grant may raise questions.

“This grant is a wonderful thing, but it only supplies pay for two years. The question we have is, ‘What will happen when the money runs out?’” he said.

However, Pinkoson still expressed enthusiasm about the grant.

He said it shows “an outstanding service organization in our county.”

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A version of this story ran on page 8 on 1/10/2014 under the headline "Commission to vote on county fire rescue grant"

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