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Linton Faces 2014 Budget Cuts

Linton faces a nearly $300,000 budget cut for 2014. Police officers in the city fear their jobs may be the first to go.
The city of Linton, Ind. is facing budget cuts after property tax caps sliced funding. Now, police officers fear for public safety and their jobs.

"Financially, we are short close to $300,000," said Linton Mayor John Wilkes.

Property tax caps in Linton caused the need for cuts in the 2014 budget and police officers in the city will pay the price if their jobs disappear.

"The biggest impact is if there's an emergency there's just going to be fewer people to handle that emergency," said Paul Clark, President of the Linton division of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Linton currently only employs 11 officers. They say if some of their jobs disappear so will the programs that keep their community safe.

"We're going to have to cut the programs the community has come to depend on," said Clark. "We currently have an officer in the school. If we take that officer out of the school, the D.A.R.E. programs out of the school, that's obviously going to have an impact on the school. Those programs probably won't be able to be funded anymore if we don't have the same level of man power we currently do."

The Fraternal Order of Police serves as a collective bargaining unit for officers. Together, they've been searching for ways to cut costs within their department. 

"We were able to sit down and go through just our budget and come up with some where in the rune of $70,000 to $75,000 just by minimizing some hourly employee work schedules," Clark said.

But Mayor Wilkes says the city isn't left with a lot of options when police take up the largest portion of the budget.

"Well we don't have a lot of choice because civil city you only have the police and the fire are your two biggest ones, then you have the cemetery, parks and mayor's fund," said Wilkes.

There is not quick fix for the short falls in the 2014 budget but Wilkes says one solution could come from the state.

"If the state legislator could give us some more options to bring in some more revenue...they put the tax caps on, but they didn't give us anymore way to make up the short fall," Wilkes said.

There will be a public hearing for the 2014 budget on September 23. Any final decisions on cuts for Linton will be made after that meeting.

 
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