Horry County Council discussing SAFER grant, 30 firefighter positions

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – A FEMA funded SAFER grant for Horry County Fire Rescue is in the hands of the Horry County Council.

In March council approved HCFR’s application for the $3.6 million grant, which was later awarded in September.

The grant would fund 30 salaries for new career firefighters over the span of three years. There are 40 fire rescue stations in the county.

HCFR’s Tony Casey says the new positions would help relieve the department’s workload.

If approved HCFR could open up the application window right away.

“We can start immediately. We can put the application out there and get people to apply to our department, which is never all that hard,” said Casey.

“We have a great county, great incentives to work here. So, people want to work here. We’re excited at the chance of opening our application window.”

If council accepts the money, they must also come up with a way to match funding.

In the past the county has used hospitality taxes to match SAFER grants, but are unable to this year due to the on-going hospitality tax lawsuit.

If approved council says they will match the grant from the county’s fire fund. Council members are discussing if the budget will allow this.

“That’s what is going to be determined at county council this week, is if we can maintain that level of funding for this grant after it runs out in three years,” said Casey.

“So basically we’ll add 30 people on, but then we’ll have to maintain that. So we decide how we’re going to pay for that and that’s up to county council in this next meeting.”

The next council meeting is Tuesday October 15.

This is a developing story. Stay with WBTW for the latest both on-air and online.

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