Fire, police cuts part of EFM plan

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — The emergency financial manager’s preliminary financial plan for the city includes eliminating nine police and fire positions.

In the plan, posted on the city’s website Friday, Emergency Financial Manager Joyce Parker suggests eliminating nine currently vacant police and fire positions included in the minimum staffing levels of each department. Parker said in the plan she intends to seek state Treasury approval to increase the current police and fire millage for an additional $2 million annually or make equal cuts to the two departments, which could include subcontracting fire and emergency medical services, if it is not approved.

The plan also includes refinancing the former movie studio property to reduce the $2 million annual general fund debt service payments to support the property until it is sold.

Also included is a reduction in sick days for all appointees from 90 to 12 days per year. The issue of sick days, especially in the police and fire departments, had been a longstanding bone of contention among many residents who voiced their disapproval of the system at city council meetings.

Cuts also include a 10 percent salary reduction for employees beginning with the 2013-14 fiscal year, which starts July 1. The cuts are estimated to bring in an additional $38,000 to the city’s general fund.

In the plan, Parker also outlines other opportunities for revenue, such as instituting an 80/20 health insurance employee co-pay, which could save about $440,000. In a survey administered to residents at a Nov. 20 town hall meeting, 58 percent of respondents reported that they strongly supported employees paying more for healthcare.

Other revenue opportunities in the plan include the sale of vacant city lots and yet-to-be determined underused city parks, expected to net about $25,000; grants for city services, expected to net about $1.2 million; and reviews of administrative and license and permit fees, which could bring in about $150,000.

Parker said in the plan that the Downtown Development Authority may be asked to reimburse the general fund for services provided in the DDA district. Borrowing from other funds, tax anticipation notes, and an emergency loan may also be considered, she said.

The plan is to be discussed at a Town Hall meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall.