Council passes budget, cuts $7.6 million from fire department - KCTV5 News

Council passes budget, cuts $7.6 million from fire department budget

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The Kansas City Council adopted the budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The council voted 12-1 to approve the $1.4 billion budget, which includes $7.6 million in cuts to the fire department's budget.

City officials hope to work out a compromise with the firefighters union for the cuts in an effort to stave off eliminating 105 firefighter jobs. The hope is to use early retirements to get many of the needed cuts.

Firefighters packed the council chambers Thursday and blasted the council's action as putting public safety in jeopardy.

"The first role of government is to protect its citizens," said firefighter union leader Mike Cambiano. "Skyscrapers on the Plaza, street cars downtown and all the other pet projects came second to public safety."

Councilman John Sharp cast the sole vote against the budget.

"To make cuts of this magnitude, I think, endangers the department's mission," Sharp said. "I don't think it's necessary."

His comments triggered a 30-second standing ovation.

But Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo, who was married to a firefighter for a number of years, says the department must now face the cuts that other city agencies have.

"Suck up, do what needs to be done," she said. "It's our turn and we can do it because that's what we're made of."

Mayor Sly James praised the council's vote.

"This budget represents a good budget for the taxpayers and this city despite the fact that it taxes all departments and forces us to get by using a lot less money," James said.

Some city officials say raises to the firefighters approved by the previous council necessitated such stiff budget cuts.

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