Officials with the city of Katy have applied for a federal grant seeking $2.7 million to hire 15 new firefighters.
The Katy City Council unanimously approved a resolution Feb. 22 to apply for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
If the city is awarded the $2.7 million grant, the funds would be used to hire 15 new firefighters and pay their salaries for two years.
Katy Fire Chief Rufus Summers said 12 of the firefighters would be stationed at the new Fire Station No. 2, which is set to open in April 2017. The station—which will have three bays and house the city’s newest ladder-equipped fire truck—will be located on Kingsland Boulevard, west of Pin Oak Road.
Three of the firefighters would be posted at Station No. 1 to bring it up to the standard level of 17 firefighters, Summers said.
“They’re entry-level,” Summers said of the new firefighters. “We will have some new officers but they will be [promoted] from within.”
City Administrator Byron Hebert said if the city gets the grant and hires the new firefighters, officials will need to devise a plan to pay them when the grant expires.
“It’s only a two-year grant,” Hebert said. “I’ve got to make sure we put a plan in place that the city can still afford [the firefighters]. When the grant is gone, we need to keep them on.”
Hebert said city officials are expecting an increase in tax revenue from new businesses, including Typhoon Texas, a 25-acre water park north of Katy Mills.
“We can absorb [the salaries] when these new businesses open,” Hebert said.