SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Springfield’s fire chief went into Tuesday’s budget meeting thinking his department may see a small budget cut, but he says he was caught off guard when the city council approved a 3-percent budget cut to his department.
“It was devastating,” Fire Chief Brandon Blough said. “I mean, we really did get blindsided with it. Like i said, we thought that we had talked to a fair amount of aldermen out there that that were in support of the fire department and making sure that we were funded to the levels that we needed to be to keep our operations where they are.”
Most of that money is going to come from the departments personnel budget. Blough says it will likely lead to layoffs, but mayor jim langfelder doesn’t think that will be the case.
“I don’t think anybody has to be laid off,” Langfelder said. “I think there’s a way through it without laying anybody off, not decreasing service coverage, and put in there, the rebuilding and fire stations and actual will put us in a better position providing that coverage and services to the springfield residents that they deserve.”
The department spends about 3 million dollars to keep the trucks and stations running across the city. Blough says that part of the budget can’t be slimmed down anymore. So the 1.4 million dollar cut will come at the expense of the firefighters.
“We can’t keep tired trucks running on that.,” Blough said. “So unfortunately, i mean, we’re gonna have to get creative, and you know, try and do all we can. But the reality is, is that it may not be possible without having layoffs.”