Budget cuts hit home in Mesa; Police and Fire cutting back

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Mesa's police and fire fighters are compensating for city budget cuts
azfamily.com

MESA - Many people are having to cut back in this tough economy and that includes the Mesa police and fire departments.

People who live in Mesa could soon see the cutbacks.

The city will lay out a more specific statement of their slashed budget on November 20th.

Mesa city manager Chris Brady summed up their economic situation simply saying when it comes to cuts: "There are no sacred cows," and that "everything is on the table."

With those massive budget cuts looming on the horizon, the Mesa fire department didn't want to wait.

They are ripping close to a million dollars from their budget.

"We are just taking a proactive approach to where we see things heading in the future," says fire fighter Mike Dunn.

The fire department will cut back by drastically reducing if not eliminating overtime.

They will not purchase any new vehicles.

The department will alter the hours and size of their new transitional response vehicle program-- which are two-person teams that respond to lower level calls.

And they will cancel an upcoming paramedic training class.

"We had a class scheduled for the first of the year," says Dunn.

"We forecast out the number of paramedics we need due to retirement and we have evaluated where we stand currently and we think we are ok with the current paramedics that we have."

There are more then 350 mesa firefighters and these cuts will not eliminate any of their jobs.

Steven Wright with the city says although the cuts are hard.

They have no choice.

"Our sales tax revenues are off dramatically from projections," says Wright.

"We are no different from the city of Phoenix or these other municipalities that have been in the news. It has a significant impact on us."

The Mesa police department is also looking at implementing cuts before the November 20th announcement.

They are also attempting to end overtime and will cut things like new vehicles from their budget.

Mesa is asking voters to approve 170 million dollars in bonds that will go towards things like street improvements and public safety issues.