14 police and fire positions saved in Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

14 police and fire positions saved in Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Two dozen Columbus police officers and firefighters are keeping their jobs despite budget shortfalls in the General Fund budget.

The positions were saved after city council made a tough decision to shift the financial burden from the General Fund to LOST funds—Local Option Sales Tax.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says the $200 million general budget has been dwindling over the last 8 years.

"Council was very clear that this is a one-time deal and hopefully next year we can start moving those jobs back to the General Fund where they belong," explained Tomlinson.

The LOST money was earmarked in 2008 to hire 100 new officers to make the streets of Columbus safer.

"Previously there had been representations to the community that we would not transfer public safety from the General Fund to the LOST, but under the circumstances, we have to keep police, firefighters, and EMS and law enforcers on the streets," recalled Tomlinson.

Fire Chief Jeff Meyer says losing 14 fire and EMS jobs in his department would have jeopardized emergency response times, a main concern for personnel and the citizens. 

"For fire calls, we have a minute and a half to get their gear on and wheels rolling and 4 minutes to arrive to their destination," Meyer said.

Those times are benchmarks for the area in and around the public safety building on 10th Street. The response times are different for each area according to its population, according to Meyer.

Meyer says as fire chief, safety for his workers and the community is his main concern in keeping those 14 fire and EMS positions intact.

"Crew size is directly proportional to the safety of the personnel at the scene and the consequently to the citizens we serve as well," Meyer said.

Those jobs along with 10 police positions are no longer at stake thanks to a one-time move by city council.

"Council went through the process," said Meyer. "I know they had a difficult season; I applaud them."

There's even more good news for police officers and detectives who work overtime, with no overtime pay instead of getting comp time...they will get paid for the extra hours they work.

The mayor says that expenditure equates to about $500,000 to keep detectives on the streets when need and nearly $167,000 to allow trainees more hours learning the job.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Texas school gunman: 'I'm going to kill you.' Then he fired

    Texas school gunman: 'I'm going to kill you.' Then he fired

    Saturday, May 19 2018 11:51 PM EDT2018-05-20 03:51:30 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 10:14 AM EDT2018-05-20 14:14:50 GMT
    (Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News via AP). April Salinas, second from right, her daughters Meah, 13, and Macee, 6, and Jeramiah Kelley read notes left at memorial behind Texas First Bank, Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. A gu...(Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News via AP). April Salinas, second from right, her daughters Meah, 13, and Macee, 6, and Jeramiah Kelley read notes left at memorial behind Texas First Bank, Saturday, May 19, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. A gu...

    The mother of one slain student said her daughter may have been targeted because she rejected advances from the suspect, who was an ex-boyfriend of her daughter's best friend.

    More >>

    The mother of one slain student said her daughter may have been targeted because she rejected advances from the suspect, who was an ex-boyfriend of her daughter's best friend.

    More >>
  • Mother has message for son after he's arrested for stealing car

    Mother has message for son after he's arrested for stealing car

    Saturday, May 19 2018 8:49 AM EDT2018-05-19 12:49:30 GMT
    Evelyn Thompson (Source: WMC Action News 5)Evelyn Thompson (Source: WMC Action News 5)

    A police chase in Memphis ended with two suspected car thieves in police custody, and one angry mother with a message for her son behind bars. 

    More >>

    A police chase in Memphis ended with two suspected car thieves in police custody, and one angry mother with a message for her son behind bars. 

    More >>
  • In deadly school shooting, a confession but no clear motive

    In deadly school shooting, a confession but no clear motive

    Saturday, May 19 2018 1:10 AM EDT2018-05-19 05:10:39 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 12:05 AM EDT2018-05-20 04:05:44 GMT
    (Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP). This photo provided by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office shows Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who law enforcement officials took into custody Friday, May 18, 2018, and identified as the suspect in the deadly schoo...(Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP). This photo provided by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office shows Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who law enforcement officials took into custody Friday, May 18, 2018, and identified as the suspect in the deadly schoo...

    Officials say the Texas student charged in the shooting at Santa Fe High School described planning the attack in private journals.

    More >>

    Officials say the Texas student charged in the shooting at Santa Fe High School described planning the attack in private journals.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly