Belton City Council considers public safety cuts - KCTV5

Belton City Council considers public safety cuts to lower expenses

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The Belton City Council is facing tough budget times, and public safety positions are on the chopping block.

This has some firefighters and police officers concerned. The council is considering eliminating eight police officer posts and eight firefighter jobs in an effort to help the city reduce its spending by more than $1 million.

City workers rallied Monday night to voice their opposition to the elimination of jobs. About 50 firefighters and their supporters rallied at City Hall.

Belton City Manager Ron Trivitt said sales tax revenues and other taxes are down, leading to revenue shortfall. He said he has tried to spare public safety, but payroll accounts for 70 percent of the city's budget. He said everything else has been cut that could be cut.

Part of the city's budget woes include a planned road project that was projected to cost $28,000, but is now costing almost $100,000. Trivitt said the city is about $1.5 million over budget.

Capt. Steve Kratofill, spokesman for the firefighters union, said cutting public safety would be a big mistake.

"It's very irresponsible of the city. We stand behind public safety, it's what we do for a living. For them, to make those cuts it doesn't sit well," he said.

He said eliminating eight jobs would cut 20 percent of Belton's Fire Department manpower.

"We're going to be shutting down trucks and making our jobs a lot harder to do," he said.

Trivitt is proposing not filling four vacant positions that are separate from public safety. The proposed budget does include a new dog park and shelter house.

The Belton City Council plans a series of budget workshops. A final budget vote is expected by March 19.

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