Flint City Council approves moving $1.7 million to fund firefighters

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FLINT (WJRT) (6/3/2019) - The Flint City Council approved a $55 million budget late Monday night with a major focus in those numbers of keeping 33 firefighters on the job.

Council members voted 6-2 with Allan Griggs absent for the vote to green light to moving $1.7 million out of the general fund and into the fire department.

Councilman Eric Mays said now is not the time for layoffs and he believes the city will make up those funds in a few years.

This budget now goes to Mayor Karen Weaver for her final approval. She has seven days to veto this $1.7 million amendment and several others.

The Flint Fire Department was awarded a $2 million SAFER grant a couple years ago. That allowed the department to hire on 33 firefighters and reopen a fire station.

Flint Fire Chief Raymond Barton says they're going to run out of that money by the end of the month. He feels hopeful about this motion, but isn't holding his breath.

"Until everything is finally approved and at that time I will know what we have definitely. I am not one to work on what may happen. I want to wait until everything is final," Barton said.

There were two votes against this budget. Eva Worthing and Kate Fields said no to moving money to fund for these firefighters.

Worthing said this is fiscally irresponsible. She said down the road this is going to do major financial harm to the city.

"We are going to go bankrupt. You can't spend money that you don't have. So, if the mayor does pass this, bankruptcy is in our future," Worthing said.

Another big item for public safety was the $2 million dollars extra the police department wanted. Council members said no to that request.

Now it's up to the mayor to decide if she wants any changes, or if she will approve the budget as is.