Jackson City Council Approves Budget Cuts to Fire, Police Departments

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JACKSON, Tenn.–The Jackson City Council approved a budget on Tuesday that includes cuts to the police and fire departments. “Sometimes you have to just tighten that belt up and go with what‘s there,” Jackson Fire Chief Max Stewart said. City council members slashed more than $500,000 in funding for the fire department. Stewart helped find savings. “We went line item by line item and cut a little bit here and a little bit there and it adds up,” he said. Stewart says the cuts mean less out of town training, less overtime, and they will not get some of the new equipment he requested. But all firefighters keep their jobs. “We’ll still have the same number of firefighters,” said Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist. “We’ll have the same number of firefighters at the station, the same number of equipment, and hopefully be increased.” Despite the budget cuts, Stewart says people will not see a cut in service. “We will still respond with as many pieces of equipment and as many personnel as we always do,” Stewart said. The city council also took away more than $46,000 from the police department. The same number of officers stay on the street. The department says retirements make up a portion of the savings. “We’re losing a lot of senior level people which means we’re gone be hiring new officers in at much lower salaries,” Deputy Chief Barry Michael said. Councilman Randy Wallace expects city finances to get worse. “We’re gonna have some more problems next year as far as budget cuts,” he said. The fire department will make do with the money they receive. “We’re gonna get what we need to function,” said Stewart. The city says all employees get to keep their jobs. Gist says about 20 part time employees had their hours cut.

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