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St. Louis gets SAFER grant for firefighters

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)
Firefighters from IAFF Local 73 on the day they learned about possible layoffs. A federal grant may allow the city to avoid those layoffs.

Will be updated as more information becomes available

Firefighters in the city of St. Louis got some better news today.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that the department will receive $3.2 million federal funds over the next two years in the form of a SAFER grant. (That stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.)

The money will help the department deal with a $2.5 million deficit in its budget for the current fiscal year, and could save the jobs of 30 firefighters. The city's top three elected officials were supposed to vote Friday on those layoffs, and the elimination of another 11 vacant positions - there's no word yet whether the agenda will change.

The layoffs would have saved about $600,000 - the grant for this year is worth $1 million more than that. But it still leaves the city to find the additional $900,000 somewhere.  And the SAFER grant does not help with a pension system that will cost the city about $30 million next year, a $4.7 million increase from this year.

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