New London's mayor is proposing some tough cuts in his 2013 budget--both the police and fire departments are on the list.
"That does bother me to some degree," said Al Skidmore, who lives in downtown New London. He's concerned that the resources of the city's bravest and finest will be depleted.( Mon Apr 01 21:26:38 PDT 2013 $__output )
He says the more cops he sees on the streets the better. "The officer on patrol has relationships with people on the street and the camera can't do that."
Cameras and better lighting are two things New London Mayor Daryl Finizio is suggesting will help in light of his plan to cut $1.4 million from the police department's budget--one he says is the largest in the city.
"It is impossible to significantly reduce overall city spending without a substantial reduction in police department funding," said Finizio.
In addition to the police department, the mayor wants to cut $500,000 from the fire and public works department as well as reducing funding to the public library and parks department. He outlined this in Monday night's 2013 state of the city address.
"I must emphasize when discussing these cuts that this is not cut and abandon, this is cut and replace," Finizio added.
"It affect us overall? It always does with supplies, equipment, how we manage, how we train," said Rocco Basilica, the fire department's union president.
The mayor's proposals come as this fire department averted a blow last year--as 25 jobs were saved. Basilica says their contract now says they can't lose men but they could lose a truck, equipment or even a fire house.
"At any given time we could have an emergency that could cost the city millions," said Basilica.
Though the mayor says the budget is on track to be balanced this year, Skidmore understands the tough decisions but says the city isn't a business
"It's an organization that's supposed to be for the people and help the people out and there's a cost to that," said Skidmore.
Despite these costs to the city there were a number of positives including announcing the location of the National Coast Guard Museum here in New London. Mayor Finizio says it's $100 million project that will put the city on the map