Monroe Fire Protection District Awarded $3.8 Million To Hire Firefighters

(BLOOMINGTON) – The Monroe Fire Protection District has been awarded a federal grant to hire firefighters.

The total award package of $3,828,613.32 includes salaries and benefits of fourteen firefighters funded entirely by federal funds over a period of three years.

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The grant will provide the resources necessary to increase the total number of firefighters to help Monroe County communities meet the national fire protection industry standards. The positions expedite the District’s hiring of firefighters to provide enhanced fire and emergency services fulfilling the mission of the fire district and its promises to the community to rapidly increase fire protection capabilities and become a model for teamwork amongst emergency services.

The grant is part of the Federal Emergency Management Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) program. The primary goal of the AFG is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs fire departments and non-affliated emergency medical services organizations.

Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protection gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and other related hazards.

The Monroe Fire Protection Fire District continues to grow, as Indian Creek, Polk Township, and Salt Creek Townships have been added to the fire district.

At the start of 2021, Van Buren Township Fire Department and Bloomington Townships will be added to the fire protection district. At the beginning of 2022, the Benton Township Volunteer Fire Department will also combine with the fire district.

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The Monroe Fire District will add three additional full-time firefighters in Perry Township. The additions will perpetually extend the part-time staffing currently secured by contractual fire protection in Salt Creek and Polk townships.

The increase in firefighters will into compliance with the national standard for staffing and will increase services provided to the community.

In Clear Creek Township six additional full time firefighters will be added. The additions will convert a part-time position that is currently funded by the district and a second position that is temporarily funded by the Staffing Adequate Fire and Emergency Responders program ( SAFER) grant from the federal government.

In Indian Creek Township (Monroe County), three additional full-time firefighters will be added. The additions will perpetually extend part-time staffing that is partially and temporarily funded by a (SAFER) grant. The perpetual extension for these positions provides a fully staffed response to medical emergencies.

These additional resources will result in an increase in property taxes, but the increase will be limited and offset over time by a phased transition and additional non-tax resources of revenue.

The current fire protection district and the citizens it serves will see a seventy five percent increase in staffing compared to the 14 percent percent increase in the maximum tax levy.

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“This is an example of the efficiencies produced by a larger assessed value resulting from the inclusion of Van Buren and Bloomington Township,” according to Dustin Dillard Fire Chief Monroe Fire Protection District. “The mergers will result in redesigning station response zones. By eliminating the current township line jurisdictions, closer fire stations can be fully utilized.”

These changes will have a positive impact on medical emergencies and traffic accidents that occur in the northwestern part of Indian Creek and Perry Townships (Monroe County).

Without additional revenue resources, the highest level and the “worst case” scenario would be an extended increase of $62 per $100,000 in assessed value or $5.17 a month per resident.