BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County Fire Department is able to breathe a slight sigh of relief now that the 2017-2018 county budget was officially adopted Tuesday.
KCFD isn't facing heavy budget cuts or staffing cuts in comparison to previous years, but Chief Brian Marshall said that doesn't mean the department is completely out of the woods.
“We continue to struggle with a deficit in the fire department and our number one goal is to keep our fire stations open and staffed with firefighters so we can respond to our citizen’s calls for help," Chief Marshall said.
Chief Marshall credits the "Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response" (S.A.F.E.R.) grant that the department was awarded in September of 2016.
“That grant allowed us to hire firefighters to maintain staffing levels in our fire station.”
This year the department will be able to fill certain positions that have sat vacant for years, but they’re still facing an $8,500,000 deficit.
That deficit is also expected to increase over the next two years.
KCFD said it will need more cuts to more revenue to achieve a sustainable budget, but for right now KCFD is doing OK.
Chief Marshall said KCFD will continue to monitor its budget, but it's main priority will remain to keep the fire stations staffed and the public safe.