Jacksonville, Fla.-- Action News has learned which fire stations in the city could be closing because of budget cuts.
Chris and Jessica Scull live in the Bartram park area. Just down the road there are signs of a new fire station. The city broke ground just 3 days ago. They were surprised when we told them this fire station is now on the chopping block.
"We are expecting a baby, so it's worrisome for me," said Chris.
We found out the Bartram Park fire station is not the only one in jeopardy. Three other fire stations face closures too. Fire Station 11 on Talleyrand Avenue, Fire Station 12 on Atlantic Boulevard and Fire Station 14 on Herschel Street could all be closed.
We also obtained a list of 10 trucks the fire chief recommended to be taken out of service. In all the cases, longer response times were noted.
The cuts are outlined in city documents that call for departments to outline money-saving measures. The city has a $ 64 million shortfall in the proposed budget for next year. JFRD was supposed to cut $12 million, but right now the department's plan only accounts for $7 million in cuts.
We went right to the mayor and asked how big of a hit public safety has to take. He blamed the police and fire pension fund. "We believe in public safety," said Mayor Alvin Brown. "We presented a plan that deals with city finance, that's the key," said Brown.
He says without approval of his pension plan, cuts have to be made. Right now, this is all a proposal. If the pension plan is approved by city council, all of this could change. But that plan is moving slowly, as some council members are skeptical of the proposal.
The mayor will submit his final budget next month. It has to be passed by the end of September.