By Bob Allen
Traverse City officials got an earful Monday night from supporters of the city’s firefighters. A budget proposal to cut two firefighters and perhaps close one of the city’s fire stations was met with strong opposition from residents.
A couple of people noted the city already trimmed whatever fat there was in the fire department over the last few years and this year’s reductions would cut into flesh and bone. Several residents said they couldn’t see how the cuts would even save the city any money because of overtime expenses for the remaining crews. A spokesman for the firefighter’s union suggested the city could actually increase revenue by using rescue vehicles and firefighters already trained in emergency procedures to offer ambulance services.
City commissioners did not discuss the points raised by the public but went into closed session to discuss confidential documents given to them by fire officials. The issue will come up for discussion at the commission’s next study session.