Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Meeting Held Wednesday
Albemarle County supervisors held a meeting Wednesday afternoon, and discussed several issues. The board tackled a grant to fund firefighters, wireless policy, and outdoor burning regulations.
Wednesday, supervisors decided to support a big grant going to a group dedicated to saving lives. The grant money will fund benefits and salaries of five firefighters at the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department and four additional firefighters to staff the new Ivy Fire Station. Albemarle County supervisors will pick up a tab of about $40,000 to pay for equipment needed. (See below for more details.)
They also received a report from a consultant who investigated the current wireless policy and Albemarle County's future needs. Ken Boyd says the consultant's work is critical "to provide for 4G, which is the updated facilities that we'd have available to us, but there's some new federal regulations that legislate what we can do on a local basis in terms of approval…We're very concerned about getting internet service to our rural areas."
Changes could also come to Albemarle County's outdoor burning regulations. The fire marshal wants to ban the burning of household trash. Supervisors held a public hearing within Wednesday's meeting on a draft ordinance written by the Albemarle County Fire Marshal and the legal department.
Albemarle County Press Release
FEDERAL GRANT TO FUND ADDITIONAL COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS
Albemarle County recently received a two year, $1.3 million federal grant to support staffing at the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department and at the new Ivy station. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant was established to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The County's Department of Fire Rescue applied for a SAFER Grant to fund a second daytime crew consisting of five firefighters at the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department ("STVFD") and four additional firefighters to staff the new Ivy station.
"These grant funds will help us provide much needed firefighter support at the very busy Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department and will supplement the volunteer recruitment effort underway to meet needs at the new Ivy Station," said Albemarle County Fire/Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston. "We appreciate these additional resources that will help us improve response times and meet our minimum staffing requirements."
An additional career daytime crew at STVFD has been requested by both volunteers and the career staff serving this station for many years, primarily due to the limited daytime availability of volunteer staffing at the station and the demand for service generated by the coverage area for this station.
The Ivy station is budgeted for eight career staff. A volunteer recruitment plan is in place, led by volunteer Chief Bob Larsen, to recruit at least 24 volunteers. This paid and volunteer staff would enable the station to meet the minimum staffing requirement of having three firefighters on-duty twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week for one engine. Currently Chief Larsen has between fifteen and twenty volunteers committed to joining the station. About 50% of the interested volunteers currently volunteer at other County volunteer fire stations and the remainder need minimum training and will attend an upcoming fire academy in order to achieve full training in time for this station to open. Chief Larsen agreed that in order to support 24/7 minimum staffing on the Ivy engine, the four additional requested career staff at Ivy would support the volunteer effort, could fill specialty roles, such as driver-operator, and support the additional training necessary for the volunteers.
Although no local match is required, SAFER Grants provide funding for only salary and benefits. Other costs associated with the new firefighters including equipment and overtime which will total approximately $42,270 will be funded from the County's Grants Opportunity Fund.
Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Meeting Held WednesdayMore>>