Middletown city council moves forward with firefighter layoffs

Published: Nov. 15, 2011 at 2:39 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2011 at 3:29 AM EST
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MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - The Middletown City Council voted to move forward with a 2012 budget that includes cuts to the city's fire department. The cuts include reduction in firefighters and the closing of a fire station.

"If we have two fire in the north end of town, who is going to respond to two fires," said Janice Cash, Middletown resident.

"Why is our city council putting money before safety," said Sharon Cassidy, Middletown resident. "How much is a life worth."

Despite some of the public's plea for the council to re-consider closing Fire Station 84 and cutting nine firefighters, the council approved a budget with the cuts included, by a vote of 4-3.

"With such a significant reduction in revenue, unfortunately cuts need to happen in public safety," said Larry Mulligan, Mayor of Middletown.

The City of Middletown has $30 million budgeted in it's general fund. Twenty-two million dollars go toward police and fire. City council member Josh Laubach says public safety employees must take wage concessions in order avoid possible layoffs.

"Over $22 million going to police and fire, there has to be some give there in order for the community to move forward and for the council to meet the other obligations of keeping our infrastructure maintained along with providing protection," said Laubach.

The city is in the midst of negotiating with the local fire union and officials say they have asked for a three percent wage decrease for non-union employees and a nine percent decrease for union members.

"The concessions that they're speaking of it's fuzzy math," said Jon Harvey, Local 336 President. "That number continues to move. So when they've talked about one number it doesn't add up."

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