U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney said he's pleased with the response by Orange County government to help the Newburgh Fire Department avert layoffs.
Maloney, D-Cold Spring, has secured nearly $5 million for the Newburgh Fire Department since taking office in 2013. Much of this funding has allowed the department to expand its size-of-force and prevent layoffs.
"I'm pleased the County Executive has heard my warning that five years of federal support secured by my office is coming to an end. It's high time the county recognized the critical role these firefighters play in the security of eastern Orange County, as their heroic response to the recent Verla fire more than demonstrated. This needs to be a permanent commitment," Maloney said.
In 2013, shortly after Rep. Maloney took office, the department applied for its first SAFER grant, but was initially denied. Rep. Maloney then worked with the department to ensure they received their first SAFER grant, which provided $2.4 million to hire fifteen new firefighters.
In 2015, when the initial round of funding ran out and the department faced twelve potential layoffs, Rep. Maloney urged FEMA to approve another SAFER grant to prevent a potential round of layoffs and hire six additional firefighters. In July 2016, Rep. Maloney announced that FEMA had agreed to provide a rarely-awarded second SAFER grant worth $2,061,516 to fund these positions into July 2018.
At the end of last year, the City of Newburgh announced that its budget would not include funding to retain a dozen firefighters. If the City did not reverse course, twelve firefighters, including one injured in the Verla fire, would be laid off.
On Feb. 1, Maloney stood with the Newburgh Fire Department to call on local officials to provide additional funding to prevent layoffs.
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