Once again public safety in the city of Chico is taking a hit because of budget cuts. On Monday, Fire Chief Jim Beery announced a new round of fire department cuts in an effort to begin reducing expenses. He also says he can't wait any longer on cutting expenses to make up for a $1.6 million budget gap. Chico Airport's fire station three will now be staffed by one firefighter engineer instead of three. The two fire fighters dropped from station three, will be staffed to help cut down over-time.
According to the Chico Fire Chief, the move will save the city about $25-hundred a day but the department still needs to cut another thousand a day to close the department's budget gap but how that's done beery said, has yet to be determined.
Since the city council directed him not to close down a station, Chief Beery says this was the best decision he could come up with after looking over the budget he was given. The FAA requires airports that provide commercial passenger service to have 24-7 emergency response and a one-person engine company fills that requirement. We spoke to department rank and file about this new staffing arrangement. Fire Engineer Chuck Fry agreed with the chief that it presents potential safety issues for emergency crews and the public but he said they'll do all they can to make the best of it.
The new measures take effect Tuesday July 15th.