CORPUS CHRISTI – When city staff first presented a balanced budget, it included a $650,000 surplus from property tax revenue. During Tuesday’s presentation, that money wasn’t listed.
“I would never approve this budget without knowing exactly where every penny of that $650,000 is being distributed to,” said council member Paulette Guajardo.
That $650,000 was used to prevent budget cuts for a number of departments. However, Guajardo suggested using that money to hire firefighters for Station 18. Currently, Station 18 is staffed on a rotational basis using firefighters from other stations.
“The people of District 3 expect that those tax dollars are being used the way they thought they would,” said Guajardo. “Which is, you’ve got a fire station, you get firefighters.”
Officials believe the council has responders best interests in mind.
“I believe that public safety staffing is a priority for this council,” Said Corpus Christi Fire Chief Robert Rocha.
The proposed city budget includes a 34 cadet Fire Academy. However, those 34 cadets will only cover expected losses over the next two years.
In comparison, the next Police Academy will add eight officers over than the rate of separation.
Rocha is confident the city will give him the money to staff his stations. Perhaps as early as next year.
“We look forward to the opportunity in the next budget cycle to make a presentation with regards to our staffing and to see if we can get more firefighter positions funded,” said Rocha.