Firefighters, police officers and their families packed into the meeting to speak out. But that did not happen. At the beginning of the meeting everyone was told nothing would be talked about until city council received a revised 2010 budget and they were welcome to leave.
The meeting went on while council members approved city position appointments and adopted several ordinances. Right before the meeting was adjourned, District 2 Councilmen Jeffery Darby spoke up saying the city has been deceived.
"The layoff of public safety personnel proposed by this administration is akin to both a crime and punishment" he said and was interrupted by most people in the room giving the councilmen a standing ovation with applause and cheers.
Darby went on to propose that the city look at taking some of the following measures:
-10-percent salary reduction of all department heads
-freeze hiring for all vacant positions
-cease all off site training
-keep city vehicles on-site, with some exceptions like emergency personnel
-increase department head duties, in turn increasing productivity
-hire a consulting firm to evaluate city salaries
Heather Carter attended Tuesday's meeting. Her husband is on the list of people who will be laid off if the proposal passes. "For the most part these officers have young families, They have young children and now they're having to reevaluate their futures. Alot of us are just building homes and now we may not be able to afford to stay in them" she says.
One of the biggest questions people are still asking is: Why did it take so long for the budget problems to come to light? Mayor Walker announced the job cuts Friday but said the city knew it faced financial problems for more than a year.
"If they knew they were having problems this large, they should not have continued to hire officers with the understanding of long term employment" says Carter.
"It caught me off guard. You know we're in a city that's safe and now we're telling the criminals we're no longer going to be safe, so come on in" says Darby. He says if the budget cuts are passed "I don't think we'll be the city to live in. I think our quality of life will be jepordized and be compromised so that's why i don't agree with the cuts."
A large, but hardly silent crowd showed up to speak out, but they will not be able to until the city council receives a revised 2010 budget. Council members say they should receive a revised budget and set public hearing dates by the end of the week.