Like most city departments, the Ithaca Fire Department faces a tough budget season for 2014.
Mayor Svante Myrick has directed both the police and fire department to slash their budgets by 2 percent.
At a meeting of the city’s Board of Fire Commissioners Tuesday, Ithaca City Fire Chief Tom Parsons said 2014 marks one of the most difficult budget years they have ever had.
He says one of the options they have to make budget is to eliminate the Fire Prevention Bureau—a division of the department that handles safety inspections—an option that the board adamantly opposed.
Parsons says getting rid of the bureau is not the most ideal option, as it has many intangible benefits.
“It’s one of those things that you don’t see the benefit because there is no direct result from it,” Parsons said. “It’s difficult to measure the results when you don’t have major fire or loss of life because you are doing a really aggressive job.”
He says the fire department may have to cut as many as 5 positions to make budget, but hopes it doesn’t come to that,
“I’m an optimist, I think that it won’t be quite that severe, but we won’t know that until the mayor and comptroller delve into the details of the budget.”
He says they won’t likely have to close any fire stations.
While their budget is being cut, the department is dealing with increased demand. Parsons says the department continues to receive more and more calls each year as the city’s population goes up.