Grand Ridge Volunteer Fire Department is getting a new fire truck

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Mark Skinner | TIMES

The town of Grand Ridge will have no trouble keeping it’s “FIVE” ISO rating thanks to a grant received through USDA. Applying for grants by Town Manager JR Moneyham is second nature to him as he never misses an opportunity for funding for Grand Ridge. This time, the Grand Ridge Fire Department is the recipient of a USDA grant that will provide a 35/65 grant. 

In an interview with Moneyham, he said, “We applied for a community facilities loan and grant funding through the USDA. This is actually our second one we have been able to acquire this way. The last one was in 2012. And of course, our oldest truck is a 1998 and then we acquired through USDA, a 2012. So, the 20-year life expectancy of a fire truck is up and we were due to replace it.  We were fortunate enough to apply and be approved through USDA for a loan grant combination. The grant is determined by the LMI which is low-to-moderate income in a particular entity.  Our low-to-moderate income puts us at 35/65 so we have 35% grant and 65% loan. This will be a grant of $91,000 and a guaranteed loan of $176,000.”

Moneyham said 95% of the calls to Grand Ridge Volunteer Fire Department go into the county, “This is not only a great benefit for the people of Grand Ridge to have a new firetruck to replace a 20-year old truck but it is also very beneficial for the county because of the interlocal agreement for the service area that we agreed to.  But really, we would go anywhere to help out any major fire area. But it is much more than a benefit to just Grand Ridge.”

Moneyham said they receive monies from the county that started many years ago at $2500 a year and then moved to $4500.  From there, the amount grew to $6,000, then $12,000 and if the budget holds equivalent to last year’s, they would receive $20,000 this year. He said, “We depend on FEMA Fire Grants, Florida Forestry Fire Grants, and we have applied to Firehouse Subs grants. While we have never received anything directly from that, a few years back, the City of Marianna was fortunate enough to receive I think it was $20,000.  They bought new bunker gear and they gave our department a lot of really good gear, better than what we had. That’s what I try to stress all the time to the council is we try to keep our guys in up-to-date safety equipment, bunker gear for their protection and it also enhances their ability to be able to fight a fire.”

Moneyham said it was very important to him for his department to be somewhat compatible for the other departments, the ones they join forces with so that when we get there, we can have interchangeable equipment and knowledge of how to operate it. 

He said because the state mandated that you cannot charge to respond to wrecks and that they do not charge inside the city limits when they respond whether it’s a structure fire or a property fire, “We don’t charge inside the city limits, that’s just one of the benefits that we give our citizens for living in the city.  But, if we go outside the city limits, we can charge.”  Moneyham said they very rarely collect, collecting probably less than $1500 a year in revenue.” Moneyham said he is hopeful the new truck will be on the job shortly after the first of the year.

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