Police and fire cuts are on the table in Saginaw. City leaders met during a strategic planning session Saturday afternoon. They discussed the future of public safety, including consolidation and collaboration.
The city will consider every proposal from closing a fire station to the way it runs the police department.
"You can only fund what you can fund," said Phil Ludos, Assistant City Manager for Public Safety.
Ludos said the current models for police and fire are not sustainable. He talked about the possibility of contracting out police services through the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff William Federspiel is currently putting together a proposal for the city to review.
Several options remain for the fire department. Ludos brought up an ongoing idea to merge the Saginaw Fire Department with surrounding communities.
Dwindling staff could force the city to close a fire station. City officials are studying call volumes at stations two and four. Ludos is also considering a rotating brown out to temporarily close a fire station if there are not enough firefighters to staff it.
"If we keep the same traditional structure, if we keep everything the way it has always been all we're going to see is continually fewer and few numbers because we can't afford to do it that way," said Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch.
The Saginaw Fire Department had 68 firefighters back in January 2011, that number has dropped to 51. The Saginaw Police Department had 105 sworn officers in January 2011, next month that number will be down to 83. The city is not filling vacant positions.
"I'm not happy with the numbers where they're at but it's just a reality," said Ludos.
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