Dallas police and firefighters will likely have to dig into their own pockets to close the city’s expected $130 million budget shortfall.
In a closed-door meeting on Tuesday night, City Manager Mary Suhm told police officers and firefighters they will have their first pay cut in 24 years.
“Obviously, any type of pay cut is tough to swallow,” police Lt. Sally Lannom said.
Dallas is anticipating a $131 million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Officers said city officials proposed cutting pay for police and firefighters by 2.72 percent and imposing six furlough days, which are like unpaid vacation days.
“A lot of officers said, 'Just give us furlough days, we don't want a pay cut,'” said Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association.
Between the furlough days and the proposed pay cut, police and firefighters stand to take about a 5 percent salary hit.
“I think the overall feeling is that we are willing to do whatever we have to do to help the city,” Dallas firefighter Jason Evans said. “But, it remains to be seen exactly what that is.”
While some people were optimistic, others said public safety will pay the ultimate price.
“Bottom line, public safety is going to take a hit,” White said.
Officers and firefighters seen leaving Tuesday night’s meeting overwhelmingly said they are opposed to the city's proposal.
Another meeting between city officials and police officers and firefighters is scheduled for Thursday night.