An Anchorage Fire Department Fire Engine. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)
A budget gap will cause the Anchorage Fire Department to shut down equipment at times through the end of the year.
KTUU-television reports the department is short about $4 million for operations for the remainder of 2019.
A major issue has been the cost of overtime pay to staff who fill in for firefighters on leave.
A municipal directive orders cost-cutting measures that include shutting down engines and understaffed companies to avoid overtime costs.
Mike Stumbaugh of the Anchorage Firefighters Union Local 1264 says shutting down engines based on staffing shortages will save a small fraction of money and delay response times.
Municipal Manager Bill Falsey says unforeseen costs such as the size of the department’s fire academy and an unusual amount of leave cash-out helped create the shortfall.
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