BALTIMORE - Three fire companies in Baltimore City are a big step closer to shutting down.
Truck 10 in West Baltimore, Squad 11 in Southeast Baltimore and Truck 15 in East Baltimore are now cleared to be “disbanded” after council members voted nine to five to approve a budget submitted by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Council President Bernard “Jack” Young led the fight to make other cuts, and use the money saved to keep the companies open.
“They think it's a defeat for me. It's not a defeat for me it's a defeat to the people. Because this is the people's plan this is not jack young's plan,” he said.
Some council members who voted for portions of the plan this past Monday, voted against it Thursday night.
They appear to have been swayed by the mayor's assertion that even if the cuts were approved, the money saved could not have been used to keep the fire companies open. Supporters of the council president's plan disagree.
“Where there's a will, there's always a way especially given a six-million dollar readjustment in a 2-plus billion dollar budget,” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke (D-14 th).
They say "the way" would have been a commitment from the mayor. Instead her plan is aimed at replacing the current system of three nightly "rotating" closures of fire companies, with the three permanent closures -- which now appear almost certain to go into effect on July 1 st.
“What does not work is if the mayor refuses to come to the table and take the money that we have offered in cuts and re-allocate it for the purposes that the people have asked for. That is what makes this impossible,” said Councilman Bill Henry (D-4 th).
“The mayor released a statement on Thursday, praising council members for passing her budget. It still has to get through another vote of the council.
That will happen on Monday, the final meeting of this fiscal year. Some council members say they're still hoping to make some changes to the budget at that time.
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