to:                  Roger L. Stancil, Town Manager

from:            Daniel Jones, Fire Chief

subject:      Resolution to Accept the SAFER Grant Award and Adopt Budget Ordinance

date:            November 20, 2006


The purpose of this report is to provide information regarding the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant award and recommend amending the current annual budget to reflect an increase as a result of the award. The attached resolution, if approved, formally accepts the SAFER grant as awarded. The budget ordinance details the federal funding increase for fiscal year 2006-2007.


In June 2006, the Fire Department submitted an application for consideration in the competitive SAFER grant program. The purpose of Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants is to help fire departments increase firefighter staffing to meet established guidelines set forth in National Fire Protection Association Standard 1710. The goal of the program is to enhance local fire departments’ ability to attain and maintain appropriate levels of staffing to ensure communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Increased staffing also greatly enhances firefighter safety.

On Friday, October 20th we received official notification from the Department of Homeland Security that our grant request was being funded. The application submitted by Chapel Hill Fire Department requested funding for 12 new firefighter positions. These positions represent the remaining positions needed from the 18 presented last year. Council authorized and funded the first six positions needed last year and applied budget funds to hire the second group of six in the last quarter of the 2006-2007 fiscal year. It is anticipated that Council would have completed the process by appropriating the necessary funds to hire the last group in budget year 2007-2008. The federal funding awarded is $1,240,748 and the Town’s share is $1,430,777 for a total of $2,671,525 over the five-year period of the program.

In order to conform to the terms of the federal grant, we will hire 12 new firefighters; however, three of our existing positions will be realigned to fill three new Assistant Fire Marshal positions who will be assigned to a 24-hour shift schedule. Personnel in these positions will be responsible for code enforcement and inspections, daily bar and nightclub safety checks and fire investigations, while also serving as part of the on-duty suppression response force.


As part of the 2006-2007 budget, Council approved six additional firefighter positions to begin in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. The stipulation was that if we were successful in the SAFER grant process the funds for the six personnel would then be used for the matching funds required in the first year of the grant. However, a portion of the funds approved by Council that would have been slated for salaries and benefits will be needed to purchase equipment, protective clothing and uniforms for twelve personnel.

In year one of the grant program the Federal share is 90 percent or $445,868 and the required matching funds (10 percent) are $49,541.  Funding approved by Council for the six positions ($92,278) beginning in April 2007 should provide the required matching funds for the first year of the grant performance period even though a portion of those funds will need to be re-allocated for equipment and uniforms. The chart below presents the federal share and required matching funds throughout the five years of the performance period.



Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5


Federal Share







Local Share

49,541 (10%)

116,696 (20%)

285,170 (50%)

404,699 (80%)

574,671 (100%)









In addressing the Council’s efforts towards the addition of 18 fire personnel that was discussed last year, the grant funding provides another alternative to achieve this goal. Funding through the SAFER grant allows the Town to proceed with the hiring of all 12 personnel at once while deferring the majority of personnel costs for the first two years of the performance period. In the third year federal and local funding is split 50-50 and in the fourth year the federal share is reduced to 30 percent while the local share is 70 percent of the costs. If at any time during the five year performance period the Town decides to default on the grant then any federal funds received must be repaid.

Since the performance period of our grant begins in January 2007, we must recruit, hire and initiate our academy no later than February 1, 2007 to fulfill the terms of the grant.


That Council approve the resolution accepting the SAFER grant award in the amount of $1,240,748, and;

That Council adopt the ordinance to amend the 2006-2007 annual budget to reflect federal funding as a result of the SAFER grant award.


  1. Copy of Award Package (p.6).