LANSING — State Representative Phil Phelps (D-Flushing) proposed an amendment to the state budget yesterday that would give money to the city of Flint to help support police and fire services. Under a proposed $55 million city budget submitted by Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, the city would lose 36 police officers and 19 firefighters.
“Public safety is critical to any community, no matter the size,” Phelps said. “In Flint, public safety has already been damaged due to budget cuts in the past, from job losses to inadequate equipment, which puts the safety of our police officers and firefighters at risk. To lose this many jobs would completely cripple these vital services.”
Earley has commented that the city of Flint is unable to fund police and fire services at current levels. With the proposed city budget, Flint’s total police staffing would shrink from 151 to 115 with seven vacancies left unfilled and 29 additional positions eliminated by the end of the fiscal year that begins July 1.
“Just a few years ago the city cut public safety jobs by about 25% and the result was a record number of homicides and arsons.” Phelps said. “Things are looking better, and Flint has a bright future, but we need to strengthen police and fire services to make that future a reality.” His amendment was adopted and it will now move to the Senate, where Phelps will continue fighting for this much-needed funding.