RELEASE: Four Days Until Hackensack City Council Turns Down $2.4 Million Federal Grant for Firefighter Staffing

Gottheimer Helped Claw Back Grant to Hire 12 Firefighters, Protect Families, Lower Property Taxes

 

Above: Gottheimer in Hackensack this week to urge the City Council to accept the federal grant he helped claw back for firefighter staffing.

HACKENSACK, NJ — Today, November 15, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) is highlighting that the Hackensack City Council has four more days to reconsider their decision to turn down a nearly $2.4 million federal grant to hire 12 new firefighters. 

“We know that the Hackensack Fire Department averages around four retirements each year. We know that a public safety report called for Hackensack to consider increasing the Fire Department’s response capabilities because the city is growing. We know that this $2.4 million federal grant will help pay and replace firefighters in the coming years. But if the City Council does not accept this federal grant in the next four days, then they will have chosen to place the financial burden of hiring new firefighters on local taxpayers, all while putting public safety at risk,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the bipartisan Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “This federal SAFER grant that we’ve clawed from Washington back to Jersey will help better protect Hackensack families and save taxpayers on their property tax bill.”

This week, Gottheimer, the Hackensack Fire Department, local firefighters, union representatives, and local elected officials joined together at the Hackensack Fire Department to urge the Hackensack City Council to reconsider their decision to turn down a nearly $2.4 million federal grant to hire 12 new firefighters. Despite multiple calls to accept the federal grant, the City Council plans to officially turn down this grant.

If the City turns down this federal grant, then the salaries of new firefighters will be paid for using local tax dollars. Gottheimer and the Hackensack Fire Department clawed these federal dollars from Washington back to North Jersey to better protect families and save taxpayers on their property tax bills.

As the City of Hackensack continues to develop, and with the Hackensack Fire Department projecting upwards of twenty firefighters who will retire over the course of three years, it is critical that the City Council accepts this grant which will help hire 12 new firefighters and pay their salaries for three years. A September 2022 report called for the City to consider increasing the Fire Department’s response capabilities.  

The Hackensack City Council has until November 19, 2022, to accept the federal grant.

The nearly $2.4 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant that Gottheimer helped claw back to North Jersey will:

  • Help hire 12 new Hackensack firefighters and pay for their salaries for three years. Over the course of three years, there will be upwards of twenty firefighters who will retire and the Department averages four retiring firefighters a year.
  • Ensure that Hackensack’s Fire Department grows as the city continues to develop with new high-rises, hospitals, and more. A September 2022 report called for the City to consider increasing the Fire Department’s response capabilities.
  • Save taxpayers on their property tax bills. Instead of hiring 12 new firefighters on the City’s dime with local property taxes — something the City will have to do as the city expands and firefighters retire — these federal tax dollars can be used instead. 
  • Help the City of Hackensack save money by having more firefighters, rather than paying overtime.

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