Middletown fire station faces brownout to balance budget

Published: Nov. 4, 2011 at 3:05 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2011 at 3:13 AM EDT
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The city of Middletown spends more than $20 million on police and fire according to city council, now council members say they're examining browning out Fire Station 84 as a resolution to the budget shortfall.
"The greater issue in our minds is the safety aspect of having fewer people on the street to do the job," said firefighter union president Jon Harvey.
Firefighters feel safety will be an issue in the community once Station 84 is browned out, which could happen as soon as next week.
"Meaning certain days it will be open and certain days there won't be staff here to respond to emergencies," Harvey said.
Harvey said he understand council's budget battle, but says not having 24/7 operation at the station will put citizens at risk during emergencies.
"And the response time is really where we're going to see the biggest impact, of being able to get these crews on scene to mitigate the emergency in a timely fashion, you could go longer without oxygen and go into cardiac arrest or that fire is going to multiply," Harvey said.
On the other side of the issue is Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan, he said in a statement, "The city remains committed to maintaining public safety within the limits of our revenues. These are unfortunate, but necessary cuts due to the state revenue sharing."
Mulligan says the city collects $18 million in income taxes and spends over $20 million in police and fire -- he says a proposal to reset wages was offered to the unions to avoid thee cuts.
"The proposal would have eliminated the need to make the cuts in service.  The proposal has not been accepted by any of the unions," Mulligan said.
The city manager also says the Fire Department is on pace to exceed their overtime budget by $25,000 to $50,000 by the end of this year.

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