Lawrence Mayor Announcing Personnel Cuts
Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup plans to announce major city personnel cuts this afternoon (Friday) in an effort to close a major budget gap.
Jessup says the city continues to grapple with a $2 million budget gap. The mayor says he's cutting two dozen full-time positions in the Fire & EMS department. He says cuts will bring the department down from 112 to 88. Jessup says personnel related expenses make up about 85% of the city's budget and there's really no other place to cut.
The mayor says the Lawrence Police Department remains lean and untouched. He says the police department has held steady at 55 police officers since 1998. Jessup says the city has already been addressing the the $2 million deficit. He says the city no longer contributes three percent to the public employee retirment fund among other fixes.
Jessup says the personnel cuts will go toward helping the city save $900,000 by year's end. Jessup says the cuts are necessary to keep the city financially solvent. He says the economy is partly to blame, but he says the city bought ten firefighters on a three year grant three years ago. He says the understanding back then was that at the end of three years, the city would've figured out a way to continue funding, but he adds that no such plan came about. Jessup says the cuts will hurt fire and ems service for residents in Lawrence.