Bay City public safety discussions continue - WNEM TV 5

Bay City public safety discussions continue

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When you call 911 for help, who responds to that call could change in Bay City. 

City leaders are considering consolidating police and fire into a public safety office as an effort to deal with a $2 million budget deficit.  Monday night, police Chief Michael Cecchini and interim fire Chief Karey Prieur laid out the proposal.

The plan calls for an 18-month transition phase to consolidate police and fire into a public safety unit.  The proposal would cross-train 24 police officers to learn fire fighting skills by January 2014.  It also calls for the layoff or buy out of 14 or 15 firefighters.

Several people spoke out at the meeting saying they just didn't buy the plan.

"I'm disappointed that other options can't be determined," said Bay City resident Forrest Robinson.

"It doesn't make any sense to me, and I'm totally disgusted by all of you," said resident Howard Heading.

The two chiefs were called upon by the city to look at ways to save big bucks to deal with the $2 million deficit.  The proposal put on the screen at Monday night's meeting didn't show the necessary savings at first, but did show savings in the long run.

The two said Monday if nothing is done, there will be serious cuts in both departments.  City Manager Robert Belleman said a resolution is in the works for next month to go in front of the full commission.

The city has also looked at contracting with nearby municipalities for fire service and contracting out police services to the Bay County sheriff.

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