Waterloo cuts 6 positions from police, fire departments - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo cuts 6 positions from police, fire departments

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Police and fire departments in Waterloo are getting smaller after a big decision from city council members on Monday night.

In a 4-3 vote, Waterloo City Council members approved a plan that would not fill a total of six vacancies in those departments.

Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka said this wasn't what he wanted for the city of Waterloo, but admitted there's not much he can do about it.

According to Trelka, no one will lose his or her job.

He said three vacancies in the fire department won't be filled, and one vacancy in the police department won't be filled. Additionally, Trelka said two police officers are set to retire this year, and those positions also won't be filled.

"I was an advocate for maintaining staffing levels we had," Trelka said. "It's not my decision what our staff -- what our budget is. So we just utilize what we're given to the best of our ability."

Trelka said safety will remain a priority and said public safety in Waterloo will be greatly impacted should any additional funding cuts be made.

City councilman Steve Schmitt said council members did the right thing on what he called "right-sizing" the departments into the size they should be in the first place.

According to Schmitt, the elimination of the six positions will end up saving the city more than $500,000.

"We basically heard it's not going to be traumatic," said Schmitt. "It's not going to be the end of the world. It's not going to be, you know, chaos in our neighborhoods, and that was one of the reasons we decided now's the time to do this."

Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark said Tuesday he believed city council members made a bad decision to approve the cuts in public safety.

Also approved were funding cuts for mowing and snow removal on city-owned properties.
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