Iron River cuts police force in half
By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON RIVER – In a 4-1 vote, the Iron River City Council on Thursday approved its 2013-2014 budget, which will cut the city’s police department in half.
The transition from a six-officer department to a three-officer department will officially be implemented at the beginning of the city’s fiscal year on July 1.
Chief Michael Goriesky and officer J.D. Flood are both scheduled to retire on June 30.
According to Iron River City Manager Perry Franzoi, the city tentatively plans to lay off one of the four remaining officers. However, he pointed out that plans could change, depending on union negotiations.
Iron River’s 2013-2014 budget is approximately $5.5 million, with a general fund of $1,764,500.
“Overall, there are significant changes in the philosophy of the operation of the city, and in particular, the reliance of the fund balance (emergency cash reserves) to fund operations of the city,” Franzoi said in the budget’s cover letter.
The 2012-2013 budget required $269,890 from those emergency funds in order to be balanced.
Franzoi added that the city has seen very little growth in revenue over the past year.
With the cuts, the police department budget will decrease from $636,000 in this fiscal year to $421,800 in the coming fiscal year. Even so, the police department will continue to be the largest expense in the general fund.
Other significant general fund cuts were made in the budgets for the city manager, city attorney, city clerk, city treasurer, city hall, recreation, and insurance.
Council member Mike Brozak was the only one to vote against the 2013-2014 budget.
“I just can’t vote for it because of the police department issue,” he said.
Mayor Terry Tarsi acknowledged that it was a tough decision.
“None of us want to see police cuts,” he said. “We’d be running in a deficit if we spend any more. The state won’t allow us to do it.”
Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is email@example.com.