Proposed Newburgh budget would cut jobs while saving millions

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Newburgh's proposed budget is expected to save millions of dollars, but residents are worried if their safety is being compromised.

The Newburgh City Council passed the budget by a vote of 6 to 1 Thursday night. It will eliminate 14 firefighter and 19 police officer positions in the new year.

District Attorney David Hoovler says the timing is especially bad because it's right around the holidays.

"Those men and women for a lot of years, you know, they've dedicated themselves to that city and to be let go in this manner is disappointing," Hoovler says. "But I understand the people that run the city have difficult choices to make."

In a statement, Newburgh City Manager Joseph Donat says "the city is one or two unfavorable events away from being insolvent. This was the hardest decision I have had to make both professionally and personally. It was not made lightly. Every other option was explored before proposing the budget back in October."

The City Council claims the proposed budget will save Newburgh $3 million, but studies from FBI data show that Newburgh is also one of the most dangerous small cities in the country.

Hoovler says in the short term, his office will be assisting with multiple units like narcotics and programs like Gun Violence Reduction.

Donat also says police and fire chiefs are working with neighboring jurisdictions to help place those facing layoffs from the budget. He tells News 12 that they are looking at recurring revenue sources and moving forward with a more "robust economic development portfolio."

 

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