Jun 20, 2011 7:07 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Budget cuts threaten the jobs of several city of Crowley employees. Officials must cut more than a million dollars from the cities budget. The suggested cuts will take about half-a-million dollars out of the police and fire department budgets.
Crowley Police Chief, K.P. Gibson said, "we have to have the tools to do the job or we can't have it, so we can only cut operations costs by so much. But then when you are having to cut personnel- you are getting to the point where you are affecting the public."
Mayor Greg Jones said, "it's just one of those times-you just don't like. You don't like telling people the money isn't there, but it is what it is."
Mayor Jones said the police and fire departments have the biggest budgets, so officials have no choice but to cut some of their funding. The Crowley Police Department's budget could be slashed by more than 300 thousand.
"We are even looking at the possibility of having to lock the door at 4 o' clock in the afternoon, because of the personnel not being there to handle it," Chief Gibson said.
Right now there are 43 officers patrolling the streets in Crowley. If the proposed budget cut does go through, nine officers will lose their jobs.
Chief Gibson said there's no doubt in his mind that crime will increase if officers are cut. As for the Crowley Fire Department, more than 200 thousand dollars could be trimmed.
Fire Chief, Jody Viator, said "we've found about 19 thousand in the budget that we could trim in public fire prevention, but it's coming to a time were there is going to be layoffs."
Six firefighters could lose their jobs if the budget is approved.
"Public safety in general is what we are concerned about and about the heat right now and people getting exhausted in a house fire and not having anyone to relieve them."
These aren't the only departments facing cuts- nine other departments may lose funding. The mayor works with department heads and council members to decide on what areas will be cut.
A final decision will be made at the July council meeting, which happens in about four weeks.