OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Oswego lawmakers pass the 2013 budget, raising taxes by 11% and forcing the fire department to make major changes. The budget calls for the closure of the Westside Fire Station and reduced staffing levels. But the fire chief, firefighter association president, and mayor all say the goal will be to find other ways to save money so the station can remain open with adequate staffing levels.
The mayor says they're simply asking the fire department to better manage overtime and other costs which is something all sides will work to accomplish.
Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie said, "We're in the process of contract negotiations to make some drastic changes to the way time off is done in the department and if we can get those and keep our 12 man staff intact... as far as ambulance service goes and as far as firefighting coverage inside the city, I'm confident that if we keep both of those things we can keep the service people are used to.”
John Geraci, Oswego Firefighters Association President said, "There is a way and I'm confident there is a way to keep the west side station open and 12 firefighters on duty, especially with the union being willing to sit down at the table we're in current contract negotiations and understanding these hardships, we're willing to make sacrifices."
McCrobie says they'll also look at possible cuts to specialty services like the dive team.