Craig Fire/Rescue rejected for DOLA grant

Department of Local Affairs recommends grants for waterline system improvements, updates to software systems

By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
Representatives for the city of Craig, Moffat County and the Craig Rural Fire District traveled to Denver Oct. 19 to face the Department of Local Affair's (DOLA) advisory board. Three of the four grant requests made were recommended for funding by the board, but the grant request concerning the construction of a training center for firefighters and rescue crews was denied.
The advisory board recommends to DOLA that a grant be funded, but the final decision on how much is granted is still at the discretion of the department, said Craig city manager Jim Ferree.
"The executive director of DOLA will give final approval, and concur or amend the advisory committee's recommendation," he said. "We should hear by the end of the year what the decision is."
Craig's request covered two infrastructure projects: Waterline improvement along First Street and connecting Industrial Avenue where it breaks off at Stout Street. The Industrial Avenue project grant asked for $173,675 and the waterline system improvement plan asks for $304,890 both of which will be matched by the city. Both requests were recommended with adjustment of changes by the board, Ferree said. Engineering and design work will be done during the winter, with bidding for the project in the spring. Construction will start next summer if the requests are funded without amendment, Ferree said.
Moffat County is applying for a $65,200 grant, also a 50/50 matching grant, to update the county's accounting systems and software. The request was also recommend by the advisory board without adjustment or changes.
"We're sort of the victim of the computer world in this one they're saying 'this is our new version. We no longer support the old version,'" Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton said.
The Craig Rural Fire District's request for funding for the construction of a training center was rejected, with one of the main reasons being the existence of a training center in Hayden that DOLA helped build.
The district doesn't yet have an alternate plan, but the issue will probably be discussed at the next monthly meeting in November, Fire Chief Roy Mason said.
"We'll have to look at other avenues to take to generate the funds," Mason said. "Using the Center in Routt would allow us to only train a few people at a time five or six at a time, with one of the back-line trucks. We couldn't send our whole crew with the front line trucks because that would leave our district uncovered."
The department needs to be able to train as a whole unit for the exercises to be worthwhile, setting up the entire system "from incident command down to the person turning a hydrant on," he said. "This is a problem most departments have. You can't leave you district to train, so you can only send part of your crews, and use equipment that might not even be yours during the drills, which makes the training basically worthless."
The district has not yet discussed the option of creating a partnership with the Hayden training center, Mason said.
Hampton sees that option as a viable one, and thinks it should be explored.
"The potential for a partnership with the Hayden training center is there," he said. "It seems like the right thing to do to me."

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