If Gulfport merges fire stations, it may save jobs

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - One cost cutting measure in Gulfport may be consolidating fire stations.  Instead of rebuilding the hurricane battered Cowan Road fire station, Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel said the council should consider a plan to move those trucks to the VA property.  That land was recently deeded to the city.

"In what our administration believes is a workable and practical step toward solving our budget issues and staving off the loss of jobs," Schloegel wrote in an e-mail to city subscribers, "we presented an alternative plan to the City Council last night to restructure the Gulfport Fire Department."

In the mayor's scenario, fire station number four on Railroad Street would also relocate to the VA.  Schloegel said combining the two fire stations, and selling the Cowan Road property could save money, and as many as 21 fire department jobs.

"What we asked the fire department to do was come up with a plan for reducing the overall budget and de-emphasizing anybody having to go home," the mayor said.  "They were not able to come up with a plan at first.  So we then looked at what could happen if we consolidated some of the actual fire stations that had an actual overlap."

The mayor said Gulfport had to make a decision about whether to consolidate the two fire stations by late next month.

"This measure will allow us to avoid the layoffs that we currently face, and instead, Gulfport could save as much as $450,000 next year and far more in the next five years," said Schloegel.

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