Some Worry PFD Money Saving Strategy Will Cost Safety

May 30, 2018

 

Credit Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

  The Peoria Fire Department is on a path toward spending $22-million this year. That’s $1.5-million more than its annual budget.

Much of that deficit can be attributed to overtime pay because the department has operated with a turnover rate of 10 percent.

The department is currently down 10 positions. The agency has not been able to fill those positions in a timely manner because of lengthy training.

Fire department administration has ordered brown-outs for two rescue trucks. The trucks will sit idle for a full-day 46 times prior to July 31st. Firefighters Local 50 President Ryan Brady says the union has safety concerns.

“Had those 10 people been hired, let’s say the middle of November, we wouldn’t be having this conversation or at least not until September and we’d have some short-term solutions,” Brady said. “But half-way through the year, I don’t know how we could get to keeping everything status quo with absorbing almost half to three-quarters of your overtime budget.”

The city faces a $2-million shortfall in the current budget. But city manager Patrick Urich will not ask the fire department to absorb any more cuts as long as it lives within its $20.5-

million budget.