Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The ink is not yet dry on the Syracuse budget, but the city is already shifting its focus from this year to next.
Department heads are trying to determine how to maintain current levels of public safety despite facing reduced funding.
Syracuse City Fire Chief Mark McLees says safety will not be compromised – not only the safety of the people his department serves, but also the safety of his men and women in the 12 stations around Syracuse and also those at Hancock International Airport.
Syracuse Common Councilors signed a city budget weighing $657 million. A portion of that money will go to the fire department, which has a total of 390 members. In 2011, the department answered a total of 23,000 alarms and approximately 100 major fires.
“Everybody can go on the Internet and see that this isn’t just localized in Syracuse, this is every city in American is having these same budget woes,” McLees said. “So, the firefighters get it, but their contract will be expiring at the end of 2012 and that’s in the middle of a budget year so we’ll have to start negotiating again and things like that…not that it’s difficult, but that’s just what we’ll have to do and we’ll just have to move on through these tough times.”
Syracuse firefighters have gone through two years without a pay raise.