Cumberland County, North Carolina
Fire Protection Service District Grant Program
Chief Log In Required to Apply
Consistent with the Cumberland County Countywide Fire and Rescue Service District being enhanced July 1, 2019, funds will be made available to contracting fire departments through a competitive grant program that is administered by Cumberland County Government with final approval by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. This progressive program is designed to improve fire protection service delivery for people within the Service District.
These grant funds will be awarded in July 2023 with the adoption of the FY 23-24 Cumberland County Budget. The grant application and review process for each fiscal year occurs in the preceding six months (between January and June of each year).
This competitive grant program will prioritize lump-sum, one-time, annual grants to contracting fire departments that have specific, tangible equipment and/or material needs in order to meet minimum service levels established in the 2019 Fire Protection Agreement and/or to enhance the department’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) public protection classification rating. Fire Departments must sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that contains specific administrative procedures and requirements in order to receive grant funds.
Grant funds will be made available to contracting fire departments after purchases of approved items up to the maximum amount of the grant award have been made. If the actual purchase cost is less than anticipated, only the actual expense will be reimbursed. (For example, if a fire department needed five (5) portable radios for continuity of operations, the fire department could request a competitive, one-time grant from the county to fund the initial radio purchase. These radios purchased with grant funds would become property of the contracting fire department to operate and maintain.) Procedures would be developed to ensure that these grant funds were specifically used for their intended purpose.
These one-time, lump sum grant funds cannot be used for providing personnel of any type (career, part-time, volunteer incentive, etc.). Also, these grant funds are intended for improving fire protection services and may not be used for emergency medical services or rescue services except for currently approved regional rescue providers. Grant program priorities may be re-defined by Cumberland County with each grant application cycle and may vary from year to year as needs and conditions change.
GRANT PRIORITIES, APPLICATION, AND REVIEW PROCESS
Because priorities change from district-to-district grants will be accepted as long as they fall within the fire protection purview and are approved by the selection committee. The members are reminded that with the five (5) year financing of the 2.8-million-dollar FCC - TDMA portable radio upgrade approved during the 2021-2022 Fiscal year, an annual payment in the amount of $518,998.84 will be deducted from the grant funds until the loan is paid in full. There are four (4) payments remaining, therefore the total amount of available grant funds will be reduced annually until the loan is paid in full.
Grant guidelines and specific priorities if required will be established annually for the program. Requirements will be posted for all contracting fire departments. Grant applications and instructions will be provided by Cumberland County. Applications for the grant program must be submitted by the annual designated deadline and submitted to the Cumberland County Emergency Services Director through the Cumberland County Fire Chiefs Association Members Only Portal, using the on-line forms. Applications submitted after the designated deadlines will not be accepted.
The County, at its discretion, may delegate the review, ranking and recommendation of grant awards to a grant review committee of the Cumberland County Fire Chief’s Association as long as established grant program rules are guidelines are followed.
The following review process will be followed:
Cumberland County Staff will receive all grant requests and ensure that all necessary forms and paperwork are submitted. Should any errors or omissions be found, county staff will make one request to the submitting fire department to submit additional information with a stated deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Deadline for FY 23-24 is April 14, 2023 at 5:00 PM.
All grant applications will be reviewed by a special grant committee. The committee will be facilitated by a designee of the Cumberland County Manager’s Office. Any committee member must exclude themselves from all discussions regarding any contracting fire department where she or he serves within the department, on the Board of Directors, or is otherwise affiliated with an applicant department. This special grant committee will be comprised of the following:
a. Cumberland County Government – Three (3) persons appointed by the Cumberland County Manager:
i. One representative from Cumberland County Emergency Services
ii. One representative from Cumberland County Finance
iii. One representative selected by the County Managers Office.
b. Cumberland County Contracting Fire Departments - Three (3) persons appointed by the Cumberland County Fire Chief’s Association:
i. One representative from a designated low-wealth fire department
ii. One representative from a medium tier funded fire department.
iii. One representative from a higher tier funded fire department.
c. Local Citizen Representatives - Three (3) persons appointed by the Cumberland County Fire Chief’s Association:
i. Subject matter experts in business, and/or finance and/or commerce and/or local government who reside and/or conduct business in Cumberland County
The committee will meet physically and/or virtually, to review all applications submitted and by consensus, rate applications based on fire district priorities and grant guidance.
Due to the 800 MHz portable county-wide grant funding, funding over the next four (4) Fiscal Years will be based on remaining, and available funds within the Fire Protection Service District Grant Line Item. The select grant reviewer committee during its review will make recommendation and determine which applications should recommended funding and which ones should not.
The grant committee may recommend that a portion of a request be funded in lieu of funding the entire request. In the example noted earlier, should a contracting fire department request five (5) radios, the grant committee can recommend that only four (4) radios be funded through the grant program. These type decisions will primarily be based on the amount of funding available annually.
All recommendations of the grant committee will be sent to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners for approval as a part of the annual fiscal year budget in a form/format deemed most appropriate by the Cumberland County Manager.
Fire Departments who receive grant awards will be required to submit a project performance report following established guidelines six months after the grant award and may be asked to submit a report again one year after the grant award for any single item, or group of items, with a total purchase value of $5,000 or greater. These bi-annual reports will be provided to the Cumberland County Manager and will be shared with the Cumberland County Board of County Commissioners as appropriate.
Failure of a contracting fire department to submit all required documentation of any type will be a basis of denial for future grant applications until all requirements have been fully met.
Cumberland County staff may examine any documents necessary to validate the performance and outcomes that are submitted in the written bi-annual reports.