GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - Green Bay city leaders may have closed the gap in this year's budget.
Last month, he mayor proposed significant overtime cuts in an effort to help make up a $700,000 shortfall. But after some public backlash from the firefighters union, the city council was given 30 days to come up with an alternate solution.
It appears Fire Station 1 will remain fully staffed, at least through the end of this year.
"We're very happy the city was able to work together," Fire Union Secretary/Treasurer Todd Madson said. "And the leadership with the department heads were able to find ways of coming up with the savings."
The station will be spared from significant staffing reductions after city leaders went back to the drawing board.
"I spent every day since that last council meeting inside city hall," commented Council President Tom De Wane.
Officials said the city's hiring freeze will continue through the end of this year, along with the delay of some maintenance projects in the public works, fire and parks departments."
According to the De Wane, virtually every department will be making sacrifices.
"Not buying equipment," he added. "Projects that had to be done that were canceled and it all added up and it added up quick."
Mayor Jim Schmitt says the deficit is due in part to the assumption that police and fire unions would be paying a higher contribution to their pension and benefits. The firefighters have agreed, while the police have not.
While the mayor is on board with the compromise, he said going into next year's budget cycle, some departments will need to change the way they do business.
"If we had gotten this contract resolved with the police, and had we maybe addressed overtime the way I had wanted to," Mayor Schmitt explained. "I don't think we'd be looking at how many stamps we were buying in the planning department, but that's what we had to do. We have to look at the bigger picture and that's how many personnel do we have here, what are their tasks and how can they be the most efficient department in the state and that's what we're going to do."
These proposed cuts were approved by the city's Finance and Personnel Committee Wednesday. They still need to be approved by the full council.