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Jacksonville fire stations at risk for closing

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Updated: 6/28/2013 5:40 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News has learned that if the city fails to reach an agreement over pension reform, our safety could be in jeopardy.

We're finally getting some confirmation, that much like the libraries, city fire stations can't take another financial hit and could be forced to scale back. That means several stations could close.

The pending police and fire pension deal is causing a ripple effect. We learned Friday that six city libraries could close if a settlement agreement isn't reached.

Several fire stations are also on the chopping block, if they too are forced to face some drastic budget cuts this year.

Action News spoke with Director and Fire Chief Marty Senterfitt to find out which stations were at risk.

"There's so many different philosophies. Do you take the slowest station? Do you take the stations that are closer to each other? Do you take the stations that have less of an insurance impact? Those are all discussion we're going to have to have in the administration based on the outcome of this," said Senterfitt.

Mayor Alvin Brown tells Action News he has a plan that would save taxpayers $1.2 billion over 30 years. He says that, along with his plan for pension reform, could help shrink the $64 million deficit looming over the city.

"I've had two deficits for $58 million, and one for $83 million, and I've balanced a budget twice without raising taxes or tapping into the city reserve. I am not going to raise taxes on this budget," said Brown.

If the fire stations are forced to close, we're told, no firefighter would be laid off or demoted because of their union contract. Officials say they would just be redistributed to other fire stations in operation.
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