DETROIT (WDIV) - More than a dozen firefighters in Taylor are losing their jobs as a private company takes over emergency medical services for the area.
HealthLink takes over Friday and the city has sent out pink slips to 17 firefighters.
The city has been dealing with budget problems. Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand says the shift is expected to save about $1 million to $2 million annually in coming years. He said firefighters are facing the layoffs because they rejected a pay cut. He said he had asked for the firefighters to take their $90,000 a year salary down to $60,000.
Lamarand estimates at least 85 percent of the Taylor Fire Department's annual calls are for medical emergencies. Firefighters still will respond to fires and accidents.
Following the cuts, there will only be 21 firefighters left in the department. – which works out to seven firefighters per shift to cover the 60,000 residents and 24-square miles that make up the city.
That number includes administrators such as the chief, the fire marshal and the chief inspector.
Fire Chief Bob Tompos said he never thought he would be faced with running such a diminished staff. He said he wished the city could have been more creative in coming up with new forms of revenue.
He said he's willing to sell advertising space on the side of fire trucks if it means more cash.
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