The new fiscal year for the City of Tallahassee starts in a week, and Wednesday night, the city passed its budget for the new year.
Officials say it's a lean year for just about everyone, and it's having an effect on Tallahassee's new budget.
One of the toughest decisions the commission had to make was to cut 51 employee positions, and 10 of them are filled positions. Tallahassee commissioners and other city officials say it's been more than 20 years since the city's had to lay off working employees from their jobs, and many say this was one of the most difficult cuts to make.
One bright spot in the budget came from the Tallahassee Fire Department. After concerns that budget cuts would eliminate two of their ladder truck units and decrease the amount of service to the community, the firefighters' union and fire department devised a way to keep the same level of service and the ladder trucks.
"It's a lot of creativity. It's something that's not traditionally done in the fire department. It was a real collaborative effort and we've all been sitting down in it and just thinking of different ways we could manage this and we've come up with a new solution," explains Tallahassee Fire Chief Cindy Dick.
The fire chief says the new plan includes moving firefighters to busier times of the week and being creative to avoid overtime. It took Leon county commissioners hours to pass its budget last week, it was very different in the City Commission chambers Wednesday night. The budget passed quickly and unanimously.
The budget takes effect on October 1st, but Tallahassee Mayor John Marks says the commission may have to revisit some parts of it again in January.