Fire chief: Budget cuts could lead to rotating fire station clos - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Fire chief: Budget cuts could lead to rotating fire station closure

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
SIOUX CITY, (KTIV)- As a part of Sioux City's budget negotiations, Sioux City Fire-Rescue was asked to find cuts in its $14-million budget. But, Fire Chief Tom Everett says because almost 95% of his budget is personnel-related, any large cut would have to mean at least a "rotational closing" of a fire station.

Everett suggested the possibility of closing a less-used station for a few days per week, or cutting back on hours.However, Sioux City's Mayor Bob Scott says there's no way that the department should even consider temporarily closing a station to save money."Well, I think, let's be realistic. In a $14-million budget, there has to be $50,000 to $80,000 worth of other things at this particular point that would not necessitate closing a station," Scott said.

Everett says the department had almost 8,000 hours of disability leave for their officers with serious illness in fiscal year 2014, accruing almost 4,000 hours in overtime for the other fireman.

Everett says they're working on implementing health and wellness programs for the fireman, hopefully saving them overtime money in the long run so a drastic choice like closing a station won't be necessary. "What we're working on, but it's more of a long-term fix, is to really focus on the health, safety, and fitness aspects for our firefighters, making sure that our attitudes are correct when it comes to those things and we're doing everything we can to be safe, to operate in a way that we should," Everett said.

The city council will vote on their choices for the city's budget cuts at their meeting next Tuesday.
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