Saginaw alumnae sorority chapter holds public forum - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw alumnae sorority chapter holds public forum

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(09/06/12) - Tonight there are more questions than answers as the city of Saginaw looks to balance its budget.

To close a potential $2 million gap, the city has been looking at consolidating its police department with the sheriff's department.

While the sheriff said it's not the most likely option, it's stirred up plenty of debate.

"[A] council person, he told us to be very watchful, things were going to start happening, we need to pay attention when it comes to the city budget and public safety," said Karen Lawrence-Webster, Chapter Social Action Chair with Saginaw's alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

And that's exactly why they held a townhall meeting Thursday evening. They want to give the public a chance to ask questions of city officials.

"I want to find out more about the consolidation and see what actually is really going to happen," said Sandra Wooten, an interested Saginaw resident.

The proposal suggests city police contract with the sheriff department to save money. It's just one option, and the sheriff has since said he's not even sure if he's on board with this idea.

The Saginaw Mayor Pro-Tem helped clear that up at the sorority's meeting.

"Let's make this perfectly clear, the sheriff department was asked to put some numbers together and they did, we're not asking him to take over, we've never asked him to take over, and he's made it perfectly clear at this time he doesn't want to take over," said Dennis Browning, mayor pro-tem.

He says the city is looking at several different ideas, including a public safety model where officers could be cross trained for both fire and police work. But it's still too early to say exactly how they'll fix their deficit.

"We are just exploring that's what important, explore all the options," he said.

On Friday, the city of Saginaw is holding a committee meeting where they will look at even more money saving options.

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