Crisis averted in Clinton, firefighters’ jobs saved

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It took five budget work sessions to figure it out, but the City of Clinton has a balanced budget that does not involve cutting three firefighters.

City leaders and firefighters at odds during this process agreed the budget is serves all parties well.

“The city council the administration, the mayor decided to take a real hard look and find a way to do it,” says Clinton Fire Marshall Mike Brown.

“It’s tough, like a lot of other cities we’re going through right-sizing our budget, so we’re happy with the outcome,” says city administrator Jeffrey Horne.

Instead of eliminating three vacant firefighter positions, Clinton City Council members opted instead to cut a vacant secretary’s position inside city hall, as well as transfer $60,000 dollars from a city cleanup program that demolishes empty and blighted buildings.

The measures closes a $93,000 shortfall, keeps firefighter staffing at their current levels, and still allows Clinton some money to remove eyesores around the city.

“We’ll still be able to get some of that goal done, which was a high council goal, and still be able to maintain the fire service at the level that is desired,” says Horne.

Firefighters say if those three positions had been eliminated the lives would be in serious danger – fewer firefighters means fewer trucks, it would also take them longer to get to fires, and once they arrive they’d be stretched so thin it’d make their jobs even more dangerous.

“For the citizens of Clinton it’s real important that we will have a fully staffed fire department. I think for the firefighters they’ll have safe staffing, so it’s really a good situation,” says Brown.

Clinton’s City Council will have their final vote on the 2013 budget Tuesday, February 28, 2012.