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$27B bill to fund Mt. Lemmon Fire District, Southern Arizona internet, food/water aid

(FILE) Fire crews stationed on Mt. Lemmon and in the Summerhaven area after the Bighorn Fire.
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 20:02:16-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Millions of dollars in aid is on its way to Southern Arizona.

This money comes from the Appropriations Committee's Fiscal Year 2023 Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA Funding Bill worth over $27 billion.

It will fund agencies and programs within the Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Administration, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the FDA.

A breakdown of the budget affecting Pima County and surrounding regions is as follows:

  • $1.7 million in funding for the Mt. Lemmon Fire District Fire Station Remodel and Expansion project
  • $4.55 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to work with landowners to improve and deploy nonlethal strategies to reduce livestock-predator conflicts.
  • $4 million for Solid Waste Management Grants to help small rural communities plan, finance, construct, manage and operate drinking water, wastewater, and solid waste systems.
  • $10 Million for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program provides educational debt relief in exchange for three years of service in rural communities. 

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-2) commented on funding.

“Growing up in rural Arizona, I saw firsthand the disparities rural communities face, even in the best of times. The pandemic and the struggles working families are facing with inflations only underscore the action Congress must take to assist with food security and strengthen rural communities,” Rep she said. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, and Rural Broadband Task Force, I have been fighting hard in Congress to deliver significant funds for Cochise County and rural communities across the state.”

Rep. Kirkpatrick pointed out previous funds have helpedthe Mt. Lemmon Fire District grow from a small, volunteer force to a paid, professional staff.

“I’m incredibly proud we were able to deliver necessary funding to help our Mt. Lemmon Fire Station Remodel and Expansion Project,” she shared. “As we face increasingly harmful wildfires throughout Arizona, it’s important our fire responders have the resources they need to keep our community safe.”

Chair of the Mt. Lemmon Fire District Board John Perchorowicz was very appreciative of the state representative's efforts to make sure the funding came through.

"Thank you to Congresswoman Kirkpatrick for her support of this critical project. It is important for the Mt Lemmon Fire District’s resident firefighters and volunteers to have a safe facility out of which to live and work to support the needs of the local community and numerous visitors," he said in a statement. "This appropriation will bring the station up to current standards to meet the National Fire Protection Association requirements for occupational safety and health for fire departments. This much needed remodel will also help reduce the long-term exposure to cancer causing exhaust fumes and work to mitigate the contamination of critical fire fighting equipment.”

Anyone interested in the bill's specifics may explore it further at Appropriations.House.gov.

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Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. After earning his bachelor's degree from Penn State in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went to New York where he learned production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing caleb.fernandez@kgun9.com or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.