The city of Muskegon is looking to slash spending in its fire department next year. But it’s not for the usual reasons we hear about in Michigan.
Muskegon is not broke. In fact, revenues are expected to go up overall next year.
But city manager Frank Peterson says personnel costs - particularly pension costs - in the fire department are getting out of control.
He says for all other city departments "the costs are reasonable, the costs make sense."
"What we’re saying is, in the fire department, they don’t make sense," he says.
Peterson says he hopes to negotiate a new benefit structure with the Muskegon firefighter's union, to avoid layoffs in the department.
"If we’re able to successfully negotiate cheaper benefits, or changes in paid time off or changes in initial staffing levels, then probably the average resident really wouldn’t notice anything different," Peterson says.
The Muskegon city commission is expected to vote on the budget at its next meeting on June 27.