City officials in Saginaw are scrambling to prevent public safety cuts after the sheriff's office turned down a potential deal. Three dozen first responders, 21 police officers and 15 firefighters, will be gone July 1 unless a last-minute deal is struck.
â??That's crazy. They shouldn't do that, we need them,â?? says Ella Johnson. â??Look at all the crime and stuff. We need the police,â?? the life-long Saginaw resident adds.
Neighbors will have to wait longer for first responders once the cuts go through. Assistant city manager Phil Ludos says these cuts are not something he wants to do but it's something the city has to do.
â??This is really us being fiscally responsible so we don't end up with an Emergency Financial Manager like Pontiac, Detroit and Flint,â?? says Ludos.
The cuts come after a deal with the Saginaw County Sheriff's Office fell through.
â??He made a business decision and now we are making a business decision,â?? says Ludos.
Just 55 police officers will patrol the streets come this summer.
â??We need the police, we need the police, for real,â?? says Johnson.
The fire department will also take a hit. At least 15 firefighters will be laid off and two fire stations, including one on Hess Avenue will shut down. That leaves the city of Saginaw with just two firehouses.
â??If someone has a fire, what are we going to do, start our hoses and stuff, that's crazy,â?? says Johnson.
â??Just think of it. Two fire stations left. When I was a child, they were all over,â?? says Susan Johnson.
â??What we're going to do is deliver the best service possible for the amount of money we can afford as a municipality,â?? says Ludos.
NBC25 reached out to the Saginaw police union, fire union and police department. They were all unavailable to comment for this story.