The Municipality of Anchorage has come up short on the operating budget for fire services through the remainder of 2019. The gap in question is about $4 million, and could result in dormant fire equipment at times.
One of the major problems is paying for fill-in staff overtime pay when firefighters take leave. Fire companies recently received a new memo including cost-cutting measures. It included the directive to shut down engines and companies that are understaffed due to employees calling out, in order to avoid overtime costs.
Mike Stumbaugh, president of Local 1264, the Anchorage Firefighters Union, says the new policies are not serving the firefighters' or the public's best interests, and that shutting down engines based on staffing shortages will only save a small fraction of the money needed.