City looking to give more if funding is found

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — City officials are looking for more money to hire people to keep you safe. Council members saw the city budget a few weeks ago, but they wanted to make some additions.

The council asked city staff to do research for funding options. They want to target some emergency services, youth programming and neighborhood improvements. Those affected are eager to know what’s going to happen.

“Two firefighters don’t really make it really effective or efficient. Three firefighters are needed on that truck,” says Fire Chief Gary Ludwig.

It could be what makes their job a little less dangerous.

“It’s also pertinent for the safety of our firefighters that it’s staffed with three firefighters also,” Ludwig says.

The addition would add one person to each shift at Station 4 on John Street. Right now, it’s fully staffed, but that’s because of a state grant. 

Getting new hires through the city would be a more permanent solution. Some who live in that area say they’re happy this is being talked about.

“I’m glad that the attention has been focused on the points of improving our communities, increasing our staff members for fire departments,” Helen Hornbuckle says.

Department officials talked with the city about what they need and why.

“We’ve tried to educate the council, and they ultimately have to make that decision on whether or not to add that extra firefighter,” Ludwig explains.

But regardless of the decision, they will still keep doing their jobs the best way they know how. 

“But at the same time, it’s up to us as the firefighters and the fire chief to make sure that we still respond to the citizens and take care of their needs and any calls that may be something we need to respond to,” Ludwig says.

In a study session Tuesday, the options the city has come up with will be presented. From there, the council will be given the budget again for adoption in June.

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