Flint police and fire chiefs present new budget options Tuesday - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint police and fire chiefs present new budget options Tuesday to help avoid job cuts

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FLINT (WJRT) - (05/13/14) – To help solve a budget deficit, Flint is considering laying off 36 police positions and 19 firefighters.

But Tuesday night, during a 5.5 hour city council meeting, each department presented a plan aimed at keeping people on the job.

City council's finance committee sat down with the police and fire chiefs to take a deeper look at the proposed public safety cuts.

First the Flint Fire Chief made his presentation. The fire department just lost their federal SAFER grant - putting 19 jobs on the line. The chief says he thinks they can reorganize the department in a way that would mean losing no jobs. It's not set in stone yet, but it involves eliminating positions that are already empty because of sick leave and retirement.

Another big take-away from his presentation – that federal grant mandated the department always have four firefighters on each truck. Now that they don't have the money, he's looking at putting three firefighters on each truck instead. He says that will help them keep more stations open.

Next up, the police chief spoke. In Emergency Manager Darnell Earley's proposed budget, they could lose up to 36 jobs at the police department.  The chief said one option is to look at lowering their supervisor to employee ratio. The city says it would take $2.6 million to fund those 36 police jobs. They say that money is directly tied to rising retiree health costs that the city must pay.

City council president Scott Kincaid suggests using a portion of a $2 million grant for the city's LockUp to help fund the police department instead. Many are wondering why the public safety millage money isn't being used.

The budget is far from being finalized, but the city’s Emergency Manager wants it wrapped by next month.
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