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Council Eyes Fire Dept. Cuts for Potential $1.1 Savings

Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria City Council is close to approving its 2018 budget except for one contentious item -- the mothballing of a fire truck.

The city has four fire trucks, the units with the long ladders on top. If one is taken out of service, it will cut eleven positions at the fire department, helping the city save $1.1 million annually.

During a budget session Tues., councilman Chuck Grayeb said the loss of the truck poses a safety issue.


"We need to make it clear to the city manager and his staff that we’re not going to acquiesce in this because we believe it will endanger our citizens...period," Grayeb said. "And that’s the kind of direction we need to give tonight. And I’d be happy to make a motion that we dismiss that idea entirely and let the manager go back to reality."

Grayeb’s motion garnered only three votes and failed.

City manager Patrick Urich cited several reasons for the recommendation at last night’s budget session.

"Nearly nine percent of the calls are for falls where somebody has, it’s literally a public assist, where somebody’s fallen down and we’re picking them up," Urich said. "There’s calls for where we’re showing up if somebody’s sick or a medical alarm has gone off."

Another option is to cut the number of firefighters on rescue units from three to two, a scenario that existed prior to 2011.

A final budget vote will come later this month.