Ahoskie to receive $1 million FEMA grant

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

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AHOSKIE – The Town of Ahoskie has been approved as a recipient of a FEMA Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) in the amount of one million dollars.

To date, only 10 municipal governments across the nation have received this type of FEMA grant.

The funding will assist the town in the purchase of a new platform ladder fire truck, replacing one that is over 30 years old.

The cost of the new truck is $1.8 million. The town will be responsible for the additional funds ($800,000) to purchase the new vehicle.

Members of the Ahoskie Town Council, at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday of last week, were advised that efforts were unsuccessful on securing other grants to help offset the $800,000. Council voted to table the agenda item and schedule a special meeting for Friday (Oct. 13) to discuss what options were available for the $800,000.

During Friday’s meeting, Council members asked for information from Ahoskie Fire Chief Michael Bradley regarding the need for the replacement truck and the specifications of a new one.

Bradley said there is a great need to replace what would be a 37+ year-old fire truck by the time a new truck is designed and assembled, which is approximately a 30-month process. He added that the Town of Ahoskie also assists other local fire departments during service calls that require a platform (aerial) truck. Bradley said that for this reason, there will always be a need for reliable equipment that is ready on demand for first responder purposes.

Additionally, Bradley explained that using the awarded grant funding to replace the existing fire truck would assist in the Ahoskie Fire Department’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating. The ISO rating determines how well the fire department can protect the homes and businesses within its service district. Insurance companies use that rating to help set home insurance rates.

Due to Ahoskie’s population size, the town did not receive funding to cover the entire purchase of the truck to meet today’s inflationary price differentials.

There were several options presented by the town’s finance and administrative staff on how to cover the difference in cost.

Council motioned to approve the FEMA’s Assistance for Firefighter Grant to accept the $1 million grant funding for the purpose of acquiring fire truck as presented. Further, Council motioned to create a capital outlay project fund for the 2025 aerial platform fire truck.

At the same meeting, Council members heard about a project that will improve the town’s surveillance camera system projects in an effort to mitigate crime.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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