Hesperia Using $2 Million Federal Grant To Rehire Nine Firefighters

(December 28)  HESPERIA—The city of Hesperia will rejuvenate its county-run fire department with the assistance of a just-received $2 million federal grant.
According to city officials, the money will  be immediately put to use to rehire nine firefighting personnel who were laid off 18 months ago. In July 2011, Hesperia, which contracts with the San Bernardino County Fire Department for fire protection service, cut $1.4 million from the fire district’s budget. City officials sought to make up that difference by asking the city’s voters to pass Measure F in November 2011. Measure F would have imposed an $85 per parcel tax to augment fire services within the 73-square mile city. Voters turned thumbs down on the tax proposal and the city then shed nine firefighting positions as of January 2012, and shut down one of its fire stations.
According to city officials, those layoffs netted $752,000 in economies to the district’s $9.2 million budget in 2012-13.
The city applied for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The processing of the grant request determined that Hesperia would use the money to restore local fire department staffing and enhance the city’s ability to respond to emergencies.
The grant will be used to cover 100 percent of the salaries and benefits for nine fire safety positions for two years, according to the city.
Saying that “Firefighters provide a tremendous benefit to our community,” Hesperia Mayor Bill Holland said, “We are excited to be awarded this grant.”

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