SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A $40 million deficit may lead to severe cuts to firefighting services, city officials warned Tuesday.
Fire department members pressed Sacramento officials at Tuesday’s city council meeting to maintain funding, but the crushing budget shortfall may force the layoffs of 53 fire employees.
Under those conditions, six fire stations would be “browned out” each day; two stations are currently shut down each day.
The national average for fire response is about 5 minutes, and Sacramento firefighters meet that figure. If the proposed cuts are approved, fire officials said response time could increase to 7 minutes and 11 seconds, a delay that could spell the difference between life and death.
The cuts could also affect the departments hazmat and water rescue teams.
Mayor Kevin Johnson and other city council members tried to assure the department they understand the potential consequences of their final decision and would weigh their concerns fairly.
Officials will make their decision next month.