ITHACA, NY – Last year, the president of the Ithaca Firefighters’ union raised concerns about staffing levels and continued budget cuts to the department, and how that might impact the department’s ability to respond to emergencies quickly and safely.

Fortunately, the department is getting some help thanks to $634,016 in federal government funding that will provide for four new full time firefighter positions for two years.

The funding was allocated through the Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program.

“We have been aggressive in our pursuit of federal funding. This funding helps keep local taxes down, and Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand have been our invaluable allies in Washington DC. This grant, which will keep Ithacans safer, is only the latest example of our successful partnership,” said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick in a press release.

“I first want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their continued support for the funding of the Federal Government’s Fire Grant Program. The SAFER Grant awarded to the City of Ithaca, will fund four firefighter positions for the next two years,” said Tom Parsons, City of Ithaca Fire Chief in the same release. “This funding will help the City of Ithaca return the career firefighter staffing of the Fire Department to the levels employed before 2012.  Ithaca’s Firefighters are dedicated to keep its community safe, making Ithaca a great place to live.”

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.