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Oswego firefighters speak out against proposed budget cuts

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Oswego firefighters speak out against proposed budget cuts
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OSWEGO, N.Y. -- More than 30 firefighters attended Oswego's Common Council meeting Tuesday night. They looked on as their union spokesman urged the mayor and city lawmakers to rethink their proposed cuts for the department. They include reducing the number of on-duty firefighters each shift from 12 down to ten. The Common Council is also considering closing one of the city's two fire stations, located on the west side.

The firefighter's union feels the cuts will greatly impact public safety. However, Mayor Gillen disagrees.

"To a firefighter the ability to protect the lives and property of the citizens we serve is our fundamental responsibility. We feel this proposed budget drastically decreases our ability to protect this community, and cannot stand down without being sure the people we protect are clear with what is at stake," said Oswego Firefighters Association President John Geraci.

"The question is how much can we afford in terms of cost, we're looking at ways of cutting back on the cost, not the service or the safety," said Mayor Gillen.

Officials say closing the West Side Fire Station would result in about $10,000 in savings each year, and the manpower reductions will cut down on overtime costs. A public hearing on the entire city budget is scheduled for November 26th.

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