EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI) - Keeping the public safe in East St. Louis could soon become more difficult. This comes after it was announced that close to 20 firefighters will soon be laid off.
It all comes down to money. The firefighters who are being laid off were paid through a federal grant that has now run out. City leaders say there isn't money in the budget to keep the firefighters on board.
The head of the East St. Louis Firefighter's Union Local 23 says 19 layoff notices have gone out. However, Mayor Alvin Parks says 17 are being laid off, and that two officers will be paid through monies in the general fund.
The firefighter's union says the layoffs could lead to longer response times to emergencies and a diminished ability to respond to multiple calls.
The union says less firefighters in an already overworked and underpaid department could also put the safety of firefighters themselves at risk. Mayor Parks says he understands the concern, but the city can't spend money that it doesn't have.
There are 54 firefighters including the ones who are set to be laid off. The layoff takes effect at the end of this month.