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Milwaukee projects cuts to police, fire departments next year

Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing says with the money he has to work with, he expects to cut 15 full time staff members and one truck next year.

The potential staff cuts have Milwaukee Aldermen Bob Donovan, who asked if the city was just hoping to dodge a bullet.

"We are forced because of money to eliminate them, and we'll just have to hope and pray for the best," Donovan said.

Rohlfing says even with proposed cuts,  he's confident the department can keep the city safe.

Mayor Tom Barrett said the cuts are just the initial estimates from the departments given their expected money for the year, and the potential cuts could be avoided.

"The next step is to see are there additional revenues the city is going to receive. Are there lower costs that we're going to have," Barrett said. "So this is a first step."

The city budget director says projections also call for cuts to the police department. The current budget cut out 75 fire department positions and 6 houses.

"What do we cut then next year? And what do we cut the year after that?" Donovan asked.

Barrett says the problem is state government taking more money from the city than it gives back.

"We do have some serious fiscal issues here," Barrett said. "We have done a very very good job of managing this city. we're going to continue to do a good job. but you cannot allow the state of Wisconsin to continue to strangle this community."



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