Fire Chief Says More Firefighters And Bigger Budget Needed

In a memo dated June 12, Austin Fire Chief Joel Baker gave Mayor Kirk Watson and City Council his proposed road map for reducing overtime expenditures in the department, and it involves a bigger budget and more firefighters.

Baker was responding to an audit of the department’s overtime expenditures released in April. As the Austin Monitor reported, the Austin Fire Department spent $21.1 million in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2022. That was the highest overtime figure ever for the department.

In the memo’s first request, Baker asked for a $2 million increase to the operations overtime budget that will reflect the department’s growing workforce.

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