TUCSON – More than 140 firefighters and police officers in Tucson could be laid off next month as part of $32 million in cuts proposed to close the city’s budget deficit this year.
Deputy City Manager Richard Miranda said his office is recommending that about 40 active police officers be laid off and another 60 open positions be cut out of the budget permanently. More than 100 firefighters could be laid off. The recommendations will go to the City Council on today (Dec. 15).
City Manager Mike Letcher told every Tucson department head this week to cut 15 percent of their budgets to help fill a $32 million budget deficit for this fiscal year, which ends June 30. The city also faces a more than $45 million budget deficit next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Miranda said that means the police department will have to cut $20 million from its budget, while the fire department needs to cut $11 million. It would mean more than $6 million cut from the parks department, as well.
“It’s parks, fire and police,” Miranda said. “They’re the big ones.'”
Miranda said the only way for the fire department to meet the $11 million goal is for Fire Chief Patrick Kelly to cut stations, fire engines and paramedic teams.
In a memo to the department, Kelly said the department could shut down three fire stations, eliminate three fire engines or truck companies, plus lay off numerous firefighters and other staff, including public education officers, inspectors, captains, hazardous-materials, and other special-operations personnel.
Miranda said the only options for the parks department is to shut down programs and cut people. He said the closure of several recreation centers and the end of many programs would save an estimated $6 million.