Firehouse cuts have been implemented throughout the city as part of Rochester’s new budget and residents met at a community meeting to voice their concerns with the practice.
Leaders with neighborhood associations, representatives with the firefighter’s union, and the city deputy major answered questions from the crowd Monday afternoon.
The group got so loud at times that organizers had to ask for calm. Most who showed up oppose the city’s move to close a fire hall at times to save money.
“We’re here to say, leave our firemen alone. leave those that serve us alone. we need them,” said Mary Coffey, with the Northwood Village neighborhood association.
“It reduces the amount of fire protection in the city, it reduces the number of firefighters that are available to protect the community,” said Amy Ruffo, Vice President of the Rochester Firefighters Association.
In a statement, Mayor Lovely Warren said: “dynamic staffing was the least disruptive action”. According to the deputy mayor, the city is investing in the fire department and the cuts are just a way to control overtime costs.
“We’ve actually added firefighters in this budget, we’ve increased funding and we’ve increased the size of our recruit class….we’re trying to contain overtime costs and the way we’re doing that is when too many firefighters call in for a shift we are for that one night only taking a company offline,” said James Smith.
Around 15 neighborhoods associations and over 80 people showed up to the community meeting. They are planning on holding more events in the future.
The city said they will continue to work with the fire chief to find a solution if possible.