Prattville first responders concerned about potential budget cuts

Police officers and firefighters are concerned about the proposed impact a new city budget will have on them.  City council members say they had to revise the budget based on new calculations.  First responders think that means job cuts.

Before Tuesday night's council meeting, Prattville's police and fire unions joined in a march to City Hall. And once inside, they made their voices heard.

"We can barely cover the coverage we got right now with the folks we got.  We're losing folks, we already lost seven this year," said  Jason Ogletree, a firefighter.  "And y'all want to take more away, put me at risk, put more citizens at risk and we're not going to have it."

The council's finance committee said it met recently to come up with a revised budget, because of debt obligations and increased personnel costs.  But members said the new budget should not result in any job cuts.

"At no time, during that meeting or subsequently did the finance committee recommend any reduction in workforce," said Albert Striplin, a council member.

But the first responders say the leaders of their departments may have no other choice.

"When we have given all that we can give, there's nothing left but to cut employees," said Mark Rhodes, who is with the city's firefighter union.

Prattville is now a month into its fiscal year, without a formal budget.  The city is operating on emergency funding until a new budget can be passed.  The council will hold a work session next week, and then likely vote on the budget on November 15th.

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