CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) – A pair of federal grants means Camden and Atlantic City, NJ will soon begin rehiring some of their laid-off firefighting forces.

But the money is, unfortunately, just a stopgap measure.

There’s a two-year limit on the grants, dubbed “SAFER,” which amount to just over $5 million for Camden and just under $10 million for Atlantic City.

In that seashore town, 30 laid-off workers will be brought back and 21 new hires will fill recent retirement holes.  But that’s not expected to do much.

“By the time the federal government is done paying for them and the city has to pick up the tab, we figure we’re going to lose another 20 firefighters to retirement,” says Atlantic City fire chief Dennis Brooks.

Camden’s portion of the grants will fund restoration of 12-18 positions.   Sixty-seven firefighters were let go almost two months ago (see previous story).

Both cities are also working to rebuild the ranks of their police departments; 167 Camden cops and 40 in Atlantic City were let go. But budget wrangling with the State of New Jersey is holding those efforts up.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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