Firefighting

Green Bay Budget Deal Avoids Firefighter Cuts

Property taxes in the city of Green Bay would increase more than $1 million next year under a budget deal that aims to avoid firefighter cuts currently on the table in union contract talks, reports The Green Bay Press Gazette.

The Green Bay City Council is set scheduled to consider the budget today.

Mayor Jim Schmitt proposed eliminating six firefighter positions in a 2015 spending plan that totaled $105.4 million citywide, including an extra $500,000 in property tax collections.

But a City Council committee has recommended restoring the firefighter positions in a move that would boost spending and property taxes another $600,000 to maintain staffing levels in the Green Bay Metro Fire Department.

The mayor’s proposal was based on an assumption that the city would prevail in contract negotiations that seek to eliminate six firefighters by changing how the fire department schedules employee vacations. The firefighters union is opposing the vacation change, which led some aldermen to fear that the mayor’s budget would backfire and leave the city facing a midyear deficit.

Alderman Tom Sladek compared the situation to the city’s 2012 budget and a $700,000 deficit that forced a hiring freeze and other adjustments after the police officers union refused concessions that were already built into that budget.

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