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City of Jackson looks for ways to avoid cuts to police and fire services

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Potential layoffs to the city of Jackson’s police and fire departments will figure prominently at a public hearing tonight.

The city of Jackson needs to trim more than $700,000 from next year’s budget. The plan now calls for most of that to come from cuts to the city’s public safety budget and it would include several layoffs.

“While we don’t want to cut, sometimes when you are in an urban core community … where (property) values and revenues are going down ... we don’t have that much of a choice,” says Jackson City Manager Patrick Burtch.

Burtch says the city and its public safety unions have been talking about reducing health insurance costs to avoid the need for budget-related layoffs.

Meanwhile, there’s another issue: Nine city firefighters may get layoff notices later this summer, as a federal grant expires in August.

Thomas Loveberry is president of the Jackson Professional Firefighters Union. He’s worried about the effect of the potential job cuts and the end of a federal grant funding for nine other firefighter positions.

“We’re a professional department. We’ll do the best we can for what we have,” says Loveberry. “But some things aren’t going to get accomplished.”

The city can still ask for an extension of the grant.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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