CSFD Chief speaks out about 2019 budget shortfall

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The Firefighter Association is bringing to light information about a “major shortfall” in the CSFD budget.

“That they had ran projections and realized the fire department would be significantly exceed it’s budgeted funds if no changes were implemented,” said Fire Chief Ted Collas.

Fire Chief Ted Collas is taking full blame for these changes.

“Our funding has not changed or been reduced in any matter since the beginning of the year I simply did not pay attention of their spending and our projections came in later than anticipated,” Collas said.

He said the short fall initial figures came in around $1.5 million, but it’s actually closer to $1 million adjustments.

“The budget was not cut I want to make sure that was clearly aired there has been no change to the budget this year, what has changed is our expenditure went faster than projected at the start of the year,” Collas explained.

Originally it was reported that squad 11, which serves the southeast portion of Colorado Springs was suspended, but that has changed.

“They want to re-implement that squad, but the remaining budget cuts will affect the department and we don’t know the result of that,” said Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Association President David Noblitt.

Chief Collas said no one is being laid off, but the biggest hit to the budget is paying overtime.

“To get more staff on hand to get more overtime vacancy or hire more staff — the mayor and his staff have been real helpful in making sure we raise the number of firefighters,” Collas said.

“We simply want everyone to understand that funding public safety is a true important role of government and obviously that wasn’t adequate funding for the department this year,” said Noblitt.

The city still plans to hire at least 32 new firefighters in the next four years.

The chief said this years budget mess up won’t affect next years.

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