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Edegwood Awarded $800,000 Federal Grant for Fire Department

The City of Edgewood received a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The $812,536 for the city's fire department does not require a local match.

But as helpful and significant as these grants can be for local governments, they can also set a city up for future expenses. At Monday night's city council meeting, City Administrator Brian Dehner said that the grant will cover new staffing in the department for four years. After that time, the city could apply to re-up the grant funding or take over paying the related salaries.

He cited Burlington's fire department which is on the final year of the four funded by a similar grant, and said that that department is applying for an extension of the grant. Burlington helped Edgewood's department prepare its grant application.

Councilman Joe Messmer, a former fire chief, complimented Burlington for creating its volunteer program, and agreed with Edgewood Fire Chief Chris Amon's assessment that there is a major shortage of firefighters/EMTs in the area, and the shortage is only going to get worse. In five years, according to Amon, departments will be looking at losing people, and having a serious lack of candidates to fill the positions.  

With this program, more volunteers would be attracted to the city's fire department now.

"It's a win/win situation," Messmer stated.

With the assurance that a coordinator position would be advertised as a four-year position with no promise of a future beyond the four years, council members voted to accept the grant. Chief Amon said that he would accept the grant, and if the interviews go well, he would like to have someone on the job possibly by October.

Other notes:

Independence Police Chief Tony Lucas came to the meeting as First Vice President of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police to present Edgewood Police Chief Tony Kramer, Lieutenant Brian Zurborg, and Sergeant Mike Winkler with the third 5-year certificate of accreditation. Sergeant Jason Grigsby was absent, but was praised for his efforts in helping the department achieve this honor.

"Only four agencies have received this certificate," said Lucas. "So, you are one in four. There are hundreds of police agencies in the state, and the standards are getting harder. I know you are as proud as we are of the department."

Dave Karas, a resident of Larchmont Avenue, came to the council meeting to see if anything can be done about the flooding that has devastated the homes on his street. He sent pictures of the water and the damage in his yard and his neighbors'. Dehner said that the city would find out who is responsible for the storm water sewers on the street, and sort it out, and try to find a solution to the problem.

Linda Tabeling, who lives on Dudley Road, came to the meeting because she had heard that the city is thinking about putting in a third lane on that road. She says such a plan would take a chunk out of her front yard. Mayor John Link assured her that they are only considering a third lane from Presidents Park to St. Pius, but if the plan to put the third lane goes through at the state level, they will need a temporary easement from some properties, hers included, to be able to have room for the project. While Tabeling was glad to hear that her yard would not be permanently taken, she did mention that the grass had just grown back from a past project.

Councilman Jeff Schreiver gave an update on the Scott family cemetery. He said that there is a tentative date of September 9 to try to document  it with archaeologist Jeannine Kreinbrink. Schreiver also mentioned the Dry Creek Cemetery, and the one on Heritage Lane where Thomas Buckner, a prominent 19th century land owner in the area, had been buried. Buckner and his brother owned almost all of what is now Edgewood. Schreiver told council that there were three tombstones, including Buckner's first headstone, now broken in half, that he thought should be preserved by the city and he wanted approval from the rest of council to take charge of these old stones. He was told that Buckner was moved to Highland Cemetery where he has a new headstone. In fact, Schreiver said it was his knowledge that all the bodies had been moved, and a few stones were left, as well as a few artifacts. Council all agreed that the stones should be in the keeping of the city.

Council heard the second reading of an ordinance setting the ad valorem tax rate for real estate and personal property at $.253 per $100 of assessed value. Council passed the tax rate unanimously.

Mayor Link announced that there will be a free eye screening at the Edgewood Senior Center on September 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo: Edgewood Fire Chief Chris Amon (RCN)