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      Saginaw leaders deal with budget shortfall

      One option of cost-trimming is to cross-train fire and police personnel.

      The City of Saginaw is on a fiscal diet for the next six months. Officials project a $2.8 million shortfall for this fiscal year, and they need to get creative to offset costs.

      "We're going to be looking very closely at our financial picture, and making sure that our revenues and expenditures are in line, given the info regarding the loss of revenue. That's happening all over the country, not just in Saginaw,?? said City Manager Darnell Earley. The biggest piece of the spending pie is public safety. Earley says the city can't afford to provide fire services like it did 50 years ago, when the demand was greater, and population larger. The city is in talks to possibly consolidate fire and police services with Buena Vista and Bridgeport townships, and even cross-train local law enforcement.

      "That's obviously the largest expenditure in our budget,?? Earley said of public safety, ??but that's only one part of the plan." He said the city will be judicious about filling vacancies created by attrition or retirement.

      "No services or departments in the city are sacrosanct from the necessary adjustments and reforms that have to be maintained if the city's going to stay financially solvent."