Friday is Pink Slip day in Saginaw as the city government looks to cut a $3.2 million budget shortfall. 33 Saginaw first responders are on the receiving end of those pink slips.
City officials say the only way to close the budget gap is by laying off police officers and firefighters. There are four fire houses in Saginaw, if these cuts go through, there would be two left in the city. The cuts wouldn't stop there, the police force would be reduced or eliminated as we know it. City officials and neighbors agree, something's got to give.
â??It could be devastating,â?? says Floyd Kloc, a Saginaw city councilman.
Saginaw city leaders like Floyd Kloc say they have no other choice. Across the board cuts to the city's public safety force are necessary to close the shortfall.
"We don't want it to happen, nobody wants to see that happen,â?? says Kloc, whose served on the council for a little more than a year. â??The union doesn't, the employees don't----like I said before, the administration doesn't nor does council,â?? adds Kloc.
"Morale at the fire department and the police department, I assume, is at about rock bottom,â?? says Thomas Raines.
For Raines, these cuts are personal. He represents the city's 50 firefighters.
"We'll be closing two stations. For citizens who live near those stations, the response times will naturally increase, you'll have less people showing up to a fire,â?? says Raines, president of IAFF Local 102.
When Raines first started 20 years ago, there were 108 firefighters on the force.
"There's going to be less people responding and less people doing the work,â?? says Raines.
20 police officers are also on the chopping block.
â??Crime is through the roof and we just can't afford that,â?? says Simone Wright.
Wright is one of many Saginaw business owners who are not happy to hear about the cuts.
"I think it's awful. The crime in Saginaw, Michigan is through the roof,â?? says Wright. â??We can't afford to lose police officers,â?? she adds.
But city officials say, they have no other choice.
"It has to happen, one way or the other,â?? says Kloc.
Another possibility is of staving off the cuts is merging the Saginaw police department with the Saginaw Sheriffâ??s office.
NBC25 reached out to the police union but didn't hear back. The city manager's office has no comment.