Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams vetoed an ordinance that would eliminate eight positions in the city’s Fire Department, reports newsworks.org.
At a press conference held at the Wilmington Fire Department’s Station 4, Fire Chief Anthony Goode, firefighters and city councilmembers joined Williams, who said that the cuts would jeopardize public safety.
“My Administration remains committed to reducing the size of government. However, I believe the effort to control spending should be one that is collaborative and shared, and not done at the expense of public safety,” Williams said.
Previously, Goode voiced concerns that Wilmington residents would be adversely affected by the cuts. Goode said the veto allows the WFD to evenly distribute services throughout the city.
“Someone’s life over in Southbridge is no more valuable than someone’s life in Rockwood Park and vice versa,” Chief Goode said. “We have to take and evenly distribute our safety measures throughout the city.”
City Council President Theo Gregory immediately expressed disappointment after the signing of the veto.
“The Administration cannot continue the pattern of looking to citizens and businesses for more taxes and fees, while ignoring substantial cost savings from a smaller and more efficient government,” Gregory said.
Gregory advanced the idea of implementing rolling bypasses, a practice in which one fire station is placed out of service each day on a rotating basis around the city. According to Gregory, rolling bypasses produced savings of more than $2 million during the last few years of former Mayor Jim Baker.
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