GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Across the nation, municipalities have been searching for ways to save and the same applies here at home. It's no secret Gulfport leaders have been looking for ways to cut spending. One of the main talking points has been the closure of Fire Station 4.
"As a part of the study that came out of municipal services, one of those recommendations was consolidating one of our stations. We've looked at that. We're still looking at that. We're very interested and think that it will happen at some point," Gulfport Chief Administrator Dr. John Kelly said.
The station is within 2 miles of four others, which leads many to believe is an unnecessary cost. The mayor brought the idea to close the station to the city council back in 2012, but the council rejected the plan.
However, Dr. John Kelly says closing the station is an operational issue and the council's approval was never required.
Dr. Kelly says while it's always easier when all parties are in agreement at the end of the day, the administration has to do what's best for the city.
"The mayor and this administration is not wanting to do anything that would ever compromise public safety and we will not. We've studied that area around fire station four," Kelly said. "We know for our GIS staff and from talking to the Fire Rating Bureau, that we could close that station and it would not compromise safety in that area one bit. If we were not absolutely sure that it would not effect public safety, it would not be done."
Right now the administration says there's no clear picture as to when the fire station will close. What they tell me however, is that they do know at some point, it will happen.
"As soon as we have all of the information we need. Where existing personnel would go, what stations that would be assigned to. We have to work all of that out, because what we don't want is for this to effect our employees. We want our employees to be aware of it. To be abreast of what's happening and how it will or will not effect them and their families," Kelly said.
Closing the fire station will save about a half a million dollars a year. We're told that no one would lose their jobs through the change. Each Firemen would reassigned somewhere else.