Topekan's Safety Could Be Sacrificed In 2014 Budget

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)__Topeka city officials are trying to close a big budget hole and Monday night, police and fire officials spelled out just what that could mean for your safety.

Council members heard 2014 budget requests from the Topeka police and fire departments.

Police and fire officials said they hope options to balance the budget don't come at the expense of safety.

Topeka City Manager Jim Colson and city council members asked all city departments in the general fund to put together a budget proposal that cuts their spending five percent, but with personnel costs making up over 65% of both the city fire and police departments budget, Fire Chief Greg Bailey and Police Chief Ron Miller spelled out how such a cut could affect Topekan's safety.

Chief Miller said, "Our budget of over $37 million would mean $1.9 million in cuts and there is no way we could do that without cutting sworn law enforcement officers.

Chief Bailey also put the number in perspective, saying," Five percent is 23 fire fighters or 2 companies so we really don't want to get into that situation."

The request to cut comes at a time when Miller says his department needs new cars, and new technology, like recording devices and an e-Ticketing system.

With no cuts, the general fund faces a $5.65 million dollar hole and Colson would like to close that gap.

Colson said, "The challenge is to find a balance that closes the gap but also provide services and not sacrifice much to the citizens of this community."

The next city budget presentation is July 13th, when the city will speak with the Topeka Zoo and the Public Works Departments.