Federal Grant Assists Miami-Dade County's Fire Union

For the past half year Miami-Dade County's fire union and the mayor's office have been at odds over a budget shortfall that threatened 59 jobs and three fire rescue trucks, reports the Miami Herald.

Monday, the arguing subsided when the county announced it had received an $11.4 million federal grant that ensures there will be no fire department cuts or personnel losses for the next two years.

The grant is know as SAFER, for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. It's an award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help local governments keep staff when facing financial shortfalls.

"It's a big deal because it saves 59 positions," said Deputy County Mayor Chip Iglesias. "But the fire district itself still has challenges, financial issues."

First up for Iglesias: filling a $900,000 hole created in October and November after commissioners chose to take the chance of waiting for the grant instead of raiding reserves or making cuts during contentious September budget hearings.

"We held off on layoffs in anticipation of possibly getting the grant. We're going to have to make up the difference. We'll take a look at inefficiencies within the department," Iglesias said.

Read more of the story here http://hrld.us/1be1zMB

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