A viewer emailed me to ask why an increase from this fiscal year's budget (70 million) to next (72 million) for the fire department is a cut.
Here's was my response....
Great question. The mayor's office wanted the firefighters to have a 74.3 million dollar budget in 2010-2011 fiscal year. Thus, the fire chief crafted a budget based off those numbers. A few weeks later the Board of Aldermen decided that they should only have a 72.3 million dollar budget. Therefore, in the eyes if the firefighters they are taking a cut.
In the wake of that decision the mayor asked the chief to come up with a new budget based in the 72.3 million dollar figure.
The union leaders of local 73 now say this change will cost up to 30 firefighters their jobs and force the department to close two houses.
We will have to see what the chief decides to do... He has until July 1st to submit his new plan.
The major issue with the firefighters budget is their pensions, from year to year the cost to fund them grows. Last year the firefighters pensions took up close to 26 percent of their budget, next year that figure will jump to 32 percent based on the 72.3 million dollar budget.
I hope this answers your question.