Oxford seeks federal funds for additional firefighters, paramedics

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The City of Oxford is looking to procure just less than $1 million from a federal grant that would allow the city to temporarily increase its fire department staff by six — one of several resolutions passed during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

City Manager Doug Elliott cited a 37% increase in calls made to the Oxford Fire Department from 2009 to 2022 as the reason why the city is set to apply for the Department of Homeland Security grant program dubbed Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER).

“Due to the increase in the number of calls, the City needs to add additional staffing in order to ensure timely response times and quality service, as well as, safely and effectively respond to fire emergencies,” Elliott said.

If the city receives its ideal $950,000 grant, the wages of six additional firefighters or paramedics would be covered — but only for a calendar year. A more permanent fix would come through possible tax measures.

“The City of Oxford will need to consider placing on the ballot in November of 2023 a second income tax increase or property tax levy to provide long term funding for this additional staffing,” Elliot said.

The resolution was passed unanimously. The deadline to apply is March 17.

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