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LOCKPORT – The Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association this week urged the city to apply for a federal grant to pay for hiring more firefighters, but city leaders weren’t enthused.

The SAFER grant – Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response – from the Federal Emergency Management Agency can be used to pay for the cost of rehired firefighters, and the union said it would make up for the seven firefighters laid off at the start of this year without adding to the city’s costs.

But Alderman and Fire Board member Patrick W. Schrader said the grant rules are that the city must keep the firefighters for five years, while the grant pays in full for only the first two years of their salaries and benefits.

“That’s my understanding why the city hasn’t pursued that grant in the past,” Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said.

After the first two years, there is reduced federal funding, although the union asserted that the city could apply for another grant to bolster that.