The Decatur city council unanimously approved its budget for this upcoming year and that means job cuts.
Twenty positions will be eliminated. That's expected to solve a $1.6 million defect in the operating fund. The only cuts the city council could confirm Monday were six firefighter positions. Neither the police nor the water departments will see cuts.
In total, about ten positions will be layoffs. Another 10 jobs are vacant positions that won't be filled because people are retiring before the end of the year, like the firefighting positions. These cuts also mean that firefighters will run eight trucks, not nine, and there will be no brown outs.
"About three years ago we started doing brown outs, so when we didn't have a full staff of firefighters we would run eight companies to try and control our overtime expenses," explained City Manager Ryan McCrady. "When we cut six firefighters out of the budget it means that we'll run eight companies on a permanent basis. Every fire station will be open."
Originally, it was thought that, in total, there would be 12 layoffs and 8 vacant spots not filled, but McCrady said he believes there are two more firefighters that are declaring their retirement by the end of the year.
Since Decatur has experience running eight companies through the brown out process, the city believes it can still provide adequate service even with these cuts. There could be delays in response time if there are a number of incidents at one time, according to McCrady. McCrady added that within the next week city leaders should have a better idea of other employees who are being impacted.
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