Westford grant to fund 8 firefighters

Full story: Lowell Sun 15
The Westford Fire Department has received an $843,400 grant under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Program to fund eight additional firefighters. Read more
Huh

Andover, MA

#1 Mar 28, 2008
so we get $843K to fund 8 firefighters for 4 years... but the town has to pay $2.3M to offset the costs? Note that the grant does not fully fund 8 firefighters for 4 years. We have to spend $2.3M to get $843K?
chris

AOL

#2 Mar 28, 2008
looks like nikis is doing her job
good

Worcester, MA

#3 Mar 29, 2008
if you research it the first year the Fedas pay 90% of the payroll cost. 2nd year it is 70? then 50% and 10%. The feds offset the full cost for the firsty 4 years and the town covers yuear 5 and on at 100%
Westford vs Chelmsford

Boston, MA

#4 Mar 29, 2008
This is why Westford is better than Chelmsford. Both town's had independant studies done which stated that their Fire Departments were under staffed. The Westford BOS recognizes that these 8 firefighters will eventually added by the town and is willing to use Federal Grant money to save it's taxpayers almost a million dollars. Chelmsford's self important BOS doesn't have the same intelligence or fore sight to realize the they are in the same situation and will probably waste the opportunity to save it's taxpayers almost $600,000. Good job Westford.

“Uncommon Sense”

Since: Jan 08

Westford Mass

#5 Mar 29, 2008
I agree with the above poster that Westford does a great job of managing the town. My hat is off to them. My concern is sustaining this when the grant is gone and all departments are striving for limited funds. That's 5 years down the road but remember, it is harder to do without something you are used to than something you have never had. Maybe growth will fund it?
taxedtothemax

Framingham, MA

#6 Mar 29, 2008
Westford just added 8 more pensions to their tax bill. It all sounds great, but in five years, can you say override. The Union will have 8 new members. A small short victory for Westford, a lifetime victory for the Unions and 8 lucky individuals who will have low cost insurance, lots of leave and a hefty retirement on the backs of the taxpayers.
Westlands

Chelmsford, MA

#7 Mar 29, 2008
I agree that these temporary funds from the fed and state are not securing long-term fiscal stability. They have done this with a number of items, including the schools with mandates, but when the grant runs out and the Towns funding is reduced your stuck big time. Maybe turning down these temporary grants is the way to go.
Westford vs Chelmsford

Boston, MA

#8 Mar 29, 2008
You're both missing the point. These positions are critical to the area where these firefighters will be stationed. The BOS, Fire Chief, and residents have been begging for these positions for years and the same answer comes up every time, "Where are we going to get the $$?." Instead of being short sighted and footing the entire bill a couple of years from now, the Town and FD are being proactive.

Taxtothemax, sounds like you have an ax to grind against unions. Don't let your prejudice cloud your decisions.(lifetime victory, lucky, hefty retirement?????)

“Uncommon Sense”

Since: Jan 08

Westford Mass

#9 Mar 29, 2008
Westford vs Chelmsford wrote:
You're both missing the point. These positions are critical to the area where these firefighters will be stationed. The BOS, Fire Chief, and residents have been begging for these positions for years and the same answer comes up every time, "Where are we going to get the $$?." Instead of being short sighted and footing the entire bill a couple of years from now, the Town and FD are being proactive.
Taxtothemax, sounds like you have an ax to grind against unions. Don't let your prejudice cloud your decisions.(lifetime victory, lucky, hefty retirement?????)
But the town will have to foot the entire bill in 5 years. Where will that money come from? The school budget? Police? A lot of these things are nice to have, and critical(?) I don't know. Funds are usually limited. So is 2-3 minutes better response time worth adding 6 kids per class in the schools or much worse road repair or fewer police. I'm not actually qualified to make that call, but funds are not unlimited. And citizens will only go so far in raising their own taxes. Just be prepared for a problem down the road. And who knows about state aid in the future(which is tax dollars anyway)? Can you be certain the citizens aren't going to vote to end the income tax next year if they are fed up with wasted state government spending or are in financial straits? Nobody is ever anxious or even willing to contemplate cuts, so when you do this you have it for life. Westford better keep growing the tax base.
Not quite

Fitchburg, MA

#10 Mar 29, 2008
taxedtothemax wrote:
Westford just added 8 more pensions to their tax bill. It all sounds great, but in five years, can you say override. The Union will have 8 new members. A small short victory for Westford, a lifetime victory for the Unions and 8 lucky individuals who will have low cost insurance, lots of leave and a hefty retirement on the backs of the taxpayers.
Low cost Insurance? Another misconception by those who think they know. Hate to tell you, but most municipal employees in Westford, union or otherwise, pay a higher percentage towards their health insurance than most private sector employees...even after private sector employees have had their share increased. Please get your facts straight.
Huh

Andover, MA

#11 Mar 30, 2008
Not quite wrote:
<quoted text>
Low cost Insurance? Another misconception by those who think they know. Hate to tell you, but most municipal employees in Westford, union or otherwise, pay a higher percentage towards their health insurance than most private sector employees...even after private sector employees have had their share increased. Please get your facts straight.
tell us then.. how much do Westford municipal employees pay? I pay 44%+ I pay 20% of a negociated services rate and I work for a company that has been in business for 80 years... We do not get HMOs, we have PPOs. You wonder how they have been in business for so long?- by not giving away the store !
good

Worcester, MA

#12 Mar 30, 2008
Well, yes the town will have to foot the bill in 8 years. But the fire dept has been understaffed and overworked for many years. The dept has been tryinh for 5 years to add the staffing. Even adding 8 firefighters it only adds 2 more firefighters per shift. This still leaves the dept short handed per NFPA laws. The residents demand more services from the town but complain when the fire chief procures a federal grant to bring the staffing and services to a higher level. In five years they will probally need more firefighters and police officers due to call volume. Not every penny can go to the schools to bay 90% of the healthcare coverage of the teachers and support staff
Fred

Boston, MA

#13 Mar 31, 2008
Huh wrote:
<quoted text>
tell us then.. how much do Westford municipal employees pay? I pay 44%+ I pay 20% of a negociated services rate and I work for a company that has been in business for 80 years... We do not get HMOs, we have PPOs. You wonder how they have been in business for so long?- by not giving away the store !
As a Westford employee, I pay $113 per WEEK for a family plan.
Its worth it

Lynn, MA

#14 Mar 31, 2008
Dana Andjus wrote:
<quoted text>
But the town will have to foot the entire bill in 5 years. Where will that money come from? The school budget? Police? A lot of these things are nice to have, and critical(?) I don't know. Funds are usually limited. So is 2-3 minutes better response time worth adding 6 kids per class in the schools or much worse road repair or fewer police. I'm not actually qualified to make that call, but funds are not unlimited. And citizens will only go so far in raising their own taxes. Just be prepared for a problem down the road. And who knows about state aid in the future(which is tax dollars anyway)? Can you be certain the citizens aren't going to vote to end the income tax next year if they are fed up with wasted state government spending or are in financial straits? Nobody is ever anxious or even willing to contemplate cuts, so when you do this you have it for life. Westford better keep growing the tax base.
If it is your kid choking on a candy or your loved one trapped in a house fire, yes the 2-3 minutes will be worth it. Fewer cops, come on, its Westford.
Huh

Andover, MA

#15 Mar 31, 2008
Fred wrote:
<quoted text>
As a Westford employee, I pay $113 per WEEK for a family plan.
You pay $5,876 par year and that represents what.. 20% of total cost of your insurance plan. Wow... that is a $20K/year insurance plan. You must have a great plan. I selected a "lower cost" plan with higher co-pays from my company... I pay $5,772/year and that represents 44% of my family plan. Maybe Westford should act like many business do and do away with the expensive plans. My company dropped Tufts because the cost was too much.

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