“That is the decision myself and the Mayor (David Malone) agreed on in trying to comply with Council’s demand we cut 20 percent out of the budget,” Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison said.
At Monday night’s City Council special budget meeting, council decided the city would implement a 20 percent across-the-board cut in all departments, and that Portsmouth Mayor David Malone would then present Council with a balanced budget reflecting those cuts.
Late Thursday afternoon, Council President John Haas indicated he was planning to pick up a copy of that budget at 7 p.m. in the Mayor’s office, and he said he had been assured by Assistant to the Mayor Juanita Jewett the budget would be balanced.
“I am meeting with the firefighters union tonight, and I want to have that budget prior to that meeting,” Haas said Thursday.
Raison said closing the Hilltop fire station will have an adverse affect on the hilltop area of the city.
“Obviously, it’s going to affect response time to the Hilltop area, and it will also impact the staffing levels that we have,” Raison said. “We’re not going to be replacing retirees.”
The Fire Department represents the largest budget in the city’s general fund, and 20 percent of the Fire Department’s budget is $800,000.
Raison said he did not want to release much information without first conferring with Malone. Malone could not be reached Thursday afternoon.
“But I can say at this point that because of budget constraints the station is being closed,” Raison said.
According to a news release from the Mayor’s office, a “closed” sign will be placed in front of the station.
The central station at 1529 Gallia St. and the station at 830 Harding Ave. in Sciotoville will remain open.
Raison said residents are reminded to call 911 when an emergency arises.