UPDATE: Police and fire could lose four spots to attrition
By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Sioux City's police and fire departments could lose as many asfourpositions through attrition. That was the focus of the city council's Thursday night meeting, as they continued reviewing the proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2014.
Police and fire make up 71% of the budget, and this year all departments have been asked to cut where they can.
The police department's proposal calls for the removal of their Street Level Drug Unit. It's composed of three officers who handle many of the drug calls in the community.
The positive; eliminating it would save the city more than $323,000. The negative; law enforcement says it'll put a strain on their patrol officers that'd have to take on the Drug Unit's responsibilities.
"If they made a traffic stop and found drugs in a car, they would have to conduct that investigation on their own, which obviously takes them out of the neighborhood that they are patrolling," said Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young.
For another year, Sioux City Fire Rescue could lose their public education officer. It's a position the department uses to teach fire safety in the community, and is a news source for the media.
Potential savings, about $95,000. But, a number of residents voiced concern over the proposed cut, saying they'd hate to lose it. Fire officials hope the council will agree.
"I know that they view this as a high priority, so I feel there's a good chance it might be spared. But then again cuts have to occur," said Fire Chief Tom Everett.
Neither of these cuts would save the city from a proposed 1.3% increase in property tax rates. In fact, if they're kept, rates could go higher.
The council didn't make a motion on anything Thursday. They opted to discuss the police and fire budgets again in their wrap up session, next month.
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