|12/5/2013 3:07:00 PM|
Taylors Falls Council agrees to seek FEMA aid for firefighting gear
by PAUL RIGNELL
Taylors Falls council members have authorized the city’s firefighters to seek a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for replacing all of the department’s gear including helmets, boots, pants, suspenders, jackets and gloves. To purchase new gear for the 19 active firefighters would require the city to pay five percent, or under the grant, about $2,400 of the total $47,959 cost. The department’s annual budget (supported by taxes) has averaged $46,925 for the past three years through 2012, according to the city’s grant application, and a “large percentage” of those funds cover yearly expenses for training, insurance, fees and licensing, and truck maintenance and fuel. Department representatives told the council that FEMA puts priority on requests to replace gear that has been in use for 10 years or more.
The department has used existing gear for 11 years. The department reported zero deaths or injuries related to fire for any on-duty crew members or civilians in the service area from 2010 through 2012, but the grant applicants said the existing gear is outdated for safety reasons when explaining their need. “One major complaint we have from firefighters,” according to the grant application, “is that the Velcro on their jackets is so worn out that it will open up, heat will enter without notice, and when they (become aware), they close (the jacket), trapping the heat inside. As often as this has happened, it is a miracle someone hasn’t been seriously injured.” FEMA is accepting grant proposals through Dec. 6 and Taylors Falls expects to hear a decision by early 2014. Knights of Columbus raffle permit Council voted 4-0 Nov. 25 (with an abstention from council member Larry Julik-Heine) to approve a gambling premise permit for Knights of Columbus Council with which Julik-Heine is active. State officials required the gaming permit from this Knights of Columbus Council 15227, which meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in order for the group to proceed with a calendar raffle.
Members will raise funds to renovate the church basement kitchen. Julik-Heine said he believes most of the existing kitchen was part of the building’s construction in 1957. When the Knights meet their goals for advertising revenue in the calendars, they will print 200 of them for $25 each, Julik-Heine said. The pages will be dated for the year 2015, but the Knights expect to release the calendars early in 2014 in order to sell out the stack and raise their funds for church kitchen renovation, plus the prize money that will be awarded early in 2015. Each purchase of a raffle calendar will come with an entry for one of 64 cash prizes that will be drawn weekly and monthly that year for a total payout of $1,300, according to details Julik-Heine shared. He said there are still some open months for exclusive advertising in the calendar, and he welcomes contacts for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-465-3004.