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Council approves FKFD grant, PAWS donation

FORT KENT, Maine — Members of the Fort Kent Town Council voted unanimously Monday to accept a federal grant for more than $119,000 to buy a new utility vehicle for the fire department.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the the Assistance to Firefighters grant earlier this month. The fire department will have to come up with 5 percent in matching funds, which the councilors approved at their regular meeting on Monday.

FEMA will provide $119,048 and the department will contribute just over $5,000 for the new vehicle, which  will help local firefighters fight brush fires and also to tow their trail rescue ambulance and four wheeler to more remote areas..

The matching funds will come from the town’s Fire Department Capital Reserve Fund, which currently holds $59,747.

Councilors expressed appreciation to Fire Chief Ed Endee for writing his third successful application for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

“This is our third award that exceeds $100,000 per award,” said Town Manager Don Guimond.

The councilors also unanimously approved a $500 donation to the PAWS cat rescue organization. PAWS representatives requested the donation to help cover expenses to build an extension to the Valley Cat Haven cat shelter located in Fort Kent.

“They’ve done a great job of taking care of the homeless cat problem in the area,” Guimond told the councilors. “In the past we’ve provided them with some fiscal assistance.”

“It’s a good cause,” added Councilor Scott Pelletier.

The donation will come out of the Shelter Reserve Fund, which currently contains $7,984, and which the town uses to maintain a dog shelter behind the police department.

Also at the meeting, council members scheduled a public hearing to review and discuss possible changes in financial eligibility guidelines for the town’s general assistance program.

Annually, the Maine Municipal Association provides recommendations by county as to what those income guidelines should be. This year, the MMA recommends that municipalities in Aroostook increase income requirements for eligibility. For example, currently a family of four in Fort Kent must bring in no more than $948 per month to qualify for assistance from the town. If the town approves the new guidelines, that amount would be raised to $965.

The public hearing will start at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25, at the Fort Kent Municipal Building, immediately followed by the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Fort Kent Town Council.

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