County seeking $1 million in grants to benefit fire coverage

Published 12:12 am Thursday, December 5, 2013

NATCHEZ — Adams County’s emergency management office will seek nearly $1 million in grants in the coming year to benefit county fire coverage.

If all of the grants were awarded, the county would have to put up less than a tenth of that in match funds.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors gave permission to Emergency Management Director Stan Owens to seek the grants from federal sources, which would pay for personal protective gear, communications equipment and new fire trucks.

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The grants would be applied for each individual fire department, and Owens said he plans to apply for a $400,000 grant to purchase a new industrial pumper truck for the Kingston Fire Department.

The grant would require a 5-percent match, $20,000.

“Kingston is our only class 9-rated (volunteer) fire department, and their truck — which is from 1991 — is getting pretty close to the end of its useful service life,” Owens said. “If we could replace it with a grant rather than having to buy one in order to keep those rating points, that would be ideal.”

The county will likewise send in a regional grant request with the City of Natchez to request $450,000 for a custom pumper for the Natchez Fire Department to use within and outside the Natchez municipal limits. The county made a similar purchase in the mid-1990s as part of the shared fire-protection agreement with the city fire department.

Because the regional grant will cover a larger population, it would require a 10-percent, or $45,000 match.

Owens said he also plans to apply for the Foster Mound, Liberty Road and Lake Montrose departments to receive $25,000 for firefighter protective gear and pagers. Each successful grant would require a 5-percent, $1,250 match.

“As of Jan. 1, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated all pagers use narrowbanding, and most of our older pagers were not narrow band compliant, so we had to replace them,” Owens said. “We bought each department nine and budgeted to do that again this year, but I am hoping rather than spending the local budgeted money we can do it through a grant and we can use the local money for the match.”

If all of the grants come through, Owens said the county will receive $925,000 worth of equipment and vehicles for approximately $65,000.

Because the final determination for the grants won’t be made until the summer, Owens said the county will have the foreknowledge to include any needed match funds in next year’s budget.