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Colorado Springs firefighters facing up to $1 million budget shortfall

The Colorado Springs firefighters union says the department was informed last week of a projected budget shortfall of up to $1 million.

They say the finance division claims its due to a significant oversight in the budget.

We’ve asked the city for a comment, but have yet to hear back.

Colorado Springs Fire Chief Ted Collas took responsibility for the budget shortfall and said that additional staffing would help because a big contributor to going over budget was paying for overtime.

Now the fire department union says they’ve had to take drastic measures that will negatively impact how they provide services.

The firefighters union said it anticipates the mistake will negatively affect multiple facets of the fire department, including the unit on the southeast side of town, leading to increased response times. However, after a meeting with Mayor John Suthers, Collas said the department would resume service by Squad 11 after it was temporarily suspended.

Previously, the department estimated a shortfall of up to $1.5 million. During a news conference Friday afternoon, Collas said the number was closer to $1 million.

Collas said the following “solutions” are being implemented:

— All resources have been removed from consideration for out-of-state wildland fire deployments for the remainder of the year
— Return of six staff personnel to the line, four have been transferred, with two more scheduled to occur by mid-October
— All travel/conferences suspended
— The five firefighters enrolled in fall paramedic school will be required to return to duty each day after class
— Current Recruit Training Academy will be shortened by two weeks

We’ll have more on this story coming up at 5 p.m.

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