A new municipal budget was introduced in the City of Wildwood that would reduce the overall tax rate. The budget was introduced with a 2.15 cent reduction to the overall tax rate. This reduction was made possible by the proposal to cut 41 jobs from the city government. City officials say that the tax rate would have gone up 10 cents without the layoffs. Four police officers and one fireman is included in the 41 layoffs.
Police Lt. Christopher Howard, who is the president of the county’s FOP Lodge No. 7 and Fire Captain Christopher D’Amico, both got up and spoke before the commission about how these cuts would negatively impact the police and fire departments. Howard says that six retirements were expected this year in the police department and with these cuts, the city should really be looking at adding police officers, not cutting them. Furthermore, three of the four jobs are completely paid for by a federal grant through 2012.
D’Amico said the department already goes on calls, at times, with one firefighter. Any more cuts would send the department into a very dangerous area. He also stressed that each household is only spend 97 cents a day for the paid fire department.
Both police and firefighters are negotiating new contracts with the city and have been working without a contract for over a year.