The Peoria Firefighters’ Union says cuts the city is proposing are unacceptable to maintaining adequate public safety.
Union Local 50 President Ryan Brady says the Peoria Fire Department is already operating at $13 million less than a comparable department like Springfield.
Further, Brady says citizens don’t have another option when it comes to their fire rescue services. “We cannot sit back idly and say that we agree,” he says. “Because we are cut so thin and it is going to impact the safety of the citizens of Peoria.”
City management is recommending cutting Truck 14 with accompanying staff restructuring as a way to save $1.1 million toward balancing the city's budget. If Truck 14 is cut, the city would move Truck 3 from the fire station on Armstrong, to the Station 11 on Florence Ave.
But Brady says it would be irresponsible to enact such a cut. He says the Peoria Fire Department already has inadequate response times.
The national response time standard to have 15 firefighters on any scene is 8 minutes. Brady says cutting Truck 14 would nearly double the department's response time to some places, like the Shoppes at Grand Prairie.
“We are the only organization being asked to either give up benefits or concession at the cost of public safety. No other organization is being asked to do both. Especially when it comes to public safety and we can not sit back and say that we agree with that.”
But Brady says over the last two decades Firefighters’ Local 50 has come to the table with revenue growth ideas and concessions that would avoid layoffs as well as station and machine closures. He says it’s frustrating city leaders won’t talk about those options, but politely propose cutting services so basic to taxpayer expectations and public safety needs.