SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento firefighters marched to Sacramento City Hall on Tuesday afternoon to dramatize their solution to prevent the deepest cuts in the history of the city fire department.
Photos From The Field: Firefighters Offer Solutions To Cuts
Members of Firefighters Union, local 522, then held a news conference to unveil their solution to a department deficit pegged at $4.2 million.
Union President Ryan Henry said the city could save the jobs of 62 firefighters by raising rates for ambulance transport by $100. He said that move alone could generate about $2 million.
He also suggested adding three more ambulances to the department fleet that could handle 3,800 missed emergency calls. Henry said the city must rely on outside ambulance services for 5,000 calls per year.
The union estimates the added calls would generate $3 million.
Henry he did not know the cost of buying and equipping an ambulance. He said the success of the idea will depend on a careful cost analysis.
Later, firefighters packed a special city council meeting on the fire department budget.
After presentations by staff, several citizens expressed concern about cutting emergency response services.
Lupe Mercado said, “an option to cut life saving services should not even be on the table for consideration.”
City officials said they are willing to discuss any proposals that could avoid budget reductions.