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City fire department turned down for federal grant funds

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The Ogdensburg Fire Department has been turned down in its application for about $33,000 in federal funds.

Chief Steven M. Badlam said Wednesday that he was notified last week that the fire department’s application for $32,667 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Program was denied.

The department had plans for the funds, which required no local match. A portion of the grant, $17,334, was going to pay the cost of turnout gear - boots, gloves, coats, helmets and pants - for 10 firefighters.

The department replaces turnout gear every 10 years.

The remaining $15,333 was set to cover the purchase of communications equipment, including mobile radios and pagers for use by firefighters in the field, as well as well as terminals connected to them to be placed at the fire station on Ford Street. Mr. Badlam took the failed application in stride. The department, he said, has been turned down in recent years in its requests for larger grants for more equipment, including $350,000 for a new pumper truck.

But there have been years of success before then. Mr. Badlam figures that a combination of increased competition for funds from other U.S. fire departments and the perception that first-time applicants are being favored has Ogdensburg and its latest, modest applications on the short end for now.

The chief said the department will keep applying as the funds are awarded in rounds throughout the year.

“They’re going to give it to the ones that they haven’t given it to,” Mr. Badlam said. “I’m not upset by it,”

Meanwhile, the department has been putting its $20,000 equipment budget for 2012 to good use. Several lengths of fire hoses have been purchased, as well as a nozzle.

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